Simultaneous dropwise and filmwise condensation on hydrophilic microstructured surfaces

Daniel Orejon, Orest Shardt, Naga Siva Kumar Gunda, Tatsuya Ikuta, Koji Takahashi, Yasuyuki Takata, Sushanta K. Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


While wicking or spreading of a liquid through microstructures has been found to be promising for applications such as textiles, microelectronics or heat sinks, the effects of such structured surfaces on condensation phase change has received less attention. On a hydrophilic surface and for a fixed micropillar aspect ratio (height/diameter), the spacing between pillars is found to have a strong impact on the dynamics of condensation and on the final morphology of the condensate. In the case of micropillars with a large spacing between pillars, the condensate grows initially dropwise, and thereafter, as condensation develops, the condensate overcomes the pillars’ height flooding the substrate, and condensation continuous in a filmwise condensation (FWC) fashion. In contrast, filmwise condensation and the continuous nucleation, growth, and departure of drops at the pillars’ tops in a dropwise condensation (DWC) fashion occurs when the spacing between pillars is decreased. In this configuration, the geometry of the microstructures constrains the condensate between the pillars and rise of the condensate interface above the micropillars’ height is not thermodynamically favorable, while the top of the pillars act as nucleation sites. We refer to this latter condensation behavior as simultaneous dropwise/filmwise condensation. These observations were enabled by the excellent spatial and temporal resolution of Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy. A heat transfer model is proposed to demonstrate the greater heat transfer performance of the simultaneous dropwise/filmwise condensation behavior on these surfaces when compared to solely filmwise condensation. The enhanced heat transfer is realizable due to the ability to maintain a thin film within the microstructures and to the active dropwise condensation at the micropillars’ tops. We report for the first time the occurrence of dropwise condensation on a completely hydrophilic wettability configuration without the assistance of a hydrophobic coating. Our findings pave the way to the development of microstructures for enhanced condensation heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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