Pancake bouncing on superhydrophobic surfaces

Yahua Liu, Lisa Moevius, Xinpeng Xu, Tiezheng Qian, Julia M. Yeomans, Zuankai Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

751 Citations (Scopus)


Engineering surfaces that promote rapid drop detachment1,2 is of importance to a wide range of applications including anti-icing3-5, dropwise condensation6 and self-cleaning7-9. Here we show how superhydrophobic surfaces patterned with lattices of submillimetre-scale posts decorated with nanotextures can generate a counter-intuitive bouncing regime: drops spread on impact and then leave the surface in a flattened, pancake shape without retracting. This allows a fourfold reduction in contact time compared with conventional complete rebound1,10-13. We demonstrate that the pancake bouncing results from the rectification of capillary energy stored in the penetrated liquid into upward motion adequate to lift the drop. Moreover, the timescales for lateral drop spreading over the surface and for vertical motion must be comparable. In particular, by designing surfaces with tapered micro/nanotextures that behave as harmonic springs, the timescales become independent of the impact velocity, allowing the occurrence of pancake bouncing and rapid drop detachment over a wide range of impact velocities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-519
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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