Restoration of Superhydrophobicity in Crushed Polymer Films by Treatment with Water: Self-Healing and Recovery of Damaged Topographic Features Aided by an Unlikely Source




The crushing of superhydrophobic polymer multilayers destroys micro/nanoscale topographic features critical for the maintenance of superhydrophobicity. We demonstrate that these surface features can be recovered, and that superhydrophobicity can be fully restored, by treatment of damaged films with liquid water. These polymer-based films can also sustain other forms of severe abuse without loss of superhydrophobicity. This combination of features addresses several important practical issues associated with the durability of artificial superhydrophobic surfaces.