Fabricating Superhydrophobic Surfaces with Solid Freeform Fabrication Tools

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Lyons, Alan M.
Mullins, John
Barahman, Mark
Erlich, Itay
Salamon, Todd

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University of Texas at Austin


Superhydrophobic surfaces exhibit a range of properties such as large contact angle, low contact angle hysteresis and decreased hydrodynamic drag. These properties make superhydrophobic surfaces of fundamental and commercial interest as they can enable a wide variety of applications including microfluidic components, biomedical devices, and micro-batteries. Superhydrophobic behavior is achieved through a combination of the hydrophobicity of the polymer and the roughness of the surface. We have used a commercially available multi-jet modeling rapid prototyping machine to fabricate 3D objects where the superhydrophobic surface is monolithic with the part. This approach was used to fabricate non-planar components with novel structures including helical conduits and porous meshes. In addition, we have developed a robotic dispensing tool that enables greater freedom of material selection. Both approaches have been used to fabricate arrays of surface features with diameters below 175 microns and with aspect ratios greater than 8:1. The fabrication and wetting properties of surfaces made using these two techniques will be discussed.


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