A droplet of water on a heated surface can levitate over a film of gas produced by its own evaporation in the Leidenfrost effect. When the surface is prepared with ratchet-like saw-teeth topography, these droplets can self-propel and can even climb uphill. However, the extent to which the droplets can be controlled is limited by the physics of the Leidenfrost effect. Here, we show that transition boiling can be induced even at very high surface temperatures and provide additional control over the droplets. Ratchets with acute protrusions enable droplets to climb steeper inclines while ratchets with sub-structures enable their direction of motion to be controlled by varying the temperature of the surface. The droplets' departure from the Leidenfrost regime is assessed by analysing the sound produced by their boiling. We anticipate these techniques will enable the development of more sophisticated methods for controlling small droplets and heat transfer.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Oct 2012|