Suppressing Ice Nucleation of Supercooled Condensate with Biphilic Topography

Youmin Hou, Miao Yu, Yuhe Shang, Peng Zhou, Ruyuan Song, Xiaonan Xu, Xuemei Chen, Zuankai Wang, Shuhuai Yao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Preventing or minimizing ice formation in supercooled water is of prominent importance in many infrastructures, transportation, and cooling systems. The overall phase change heat transfer on icephobic surfaces, in general, is intentionally sacrificed to suppress the nucleation of water and ice. However, in a condensation frosting process, inhibiting freezing without compromising the water condensation has been an unsolved challenge. Here we show that this conflict between anti-icing and efficient condensation cooling can be resolved by utilizing biphilic topography with patterned high-contrast wettability. By creating a varying interfacial thermal barrier underneath the supercooled condensate, the biphilic structures tune the nucleation rates of water and ice in the sequential condensation-to-freezing process. Our experimental and theoretical investigation of condensate freezing dynamics further unravels the correlation between the onset of droplet freezing and its characteristic radius, offering a new insight for controlling the multiphase transitions among vapor, water, and ice in supercooled conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075902
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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