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Shaping Drops: Control over Stiction and Wetting

Some surfaces are wetted by water, others are water-repellent. TU Wien (Vienna), KU Leuven and the University of Zürich have discovered a robust surface whose adhesive and wetting properties can be switched using electricity. This remarkable result is featured on the cover of Nature magazine.

To investigate the wetting of the surface, an instrument was built specially for this purpose, in which a liquid drop is brought on the surface through a very thin glass tube. The drop is made bigger and smaller while at the same time its shape is recorded. Whether the drop shape is flat or more rounded depends on the properties of the surface.

  • drop shape
  • wetting
  • water contact angle
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