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Keywords:

  • biomimetics;
  • contact-angle hysteresis;
  • nanostructures;
  • superhydrophobicity;
  • water striders

Abstract

The robustness of superhydrophobicity is a fundamental issue for the applications of water-repellent materials. Inspired by the hierarchical structures of water-strider legs, this work describes a new water-repellent material decorated with ribbed, conical nanoneedles, successfully achieved on the surface of copper and consisting of copper hydroxide nanoneedle arrays sculptured with nanogrooves. The behavior of water drops on an as-prepared surface under various external disturbances is investigated. It is shown in particular that squeezing and relaxing drops between two such surfaces leads to a fully reversible exploration of the solid surface by the liquid, which is distinct from other superhydrophobic surfaces. This unique character is attributed to the penetrating Cassie state that occurs at the ribbed, conical nanoneedles. The proprietary lateral nanogrooves can, not only vigorously support the enwrapped liquid-air interface when a force is applied to the drop, but also provide reliable contact lines for the easy de-pinning of the deformed interface when the force is released from the drop. The results confirm the exceptional ability of strider legs to repel water, and should help to further the design of robust water-repellent materials and miniaturized aquatic devices.