Experimental investigations of liquid-infused surface robustness under turbulent flow

Matthew K. Fu, Ting Hsuan Chen, Craig B. Arnold, Marcus Nils Hultmark

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12 Scopus citations


Liquid-infused surfaces present a novel coating for passive drag reduction in turbulent flows. Conceptually similar to superhydrophobic surfaces, which are composed of air pockets trapped within hydrophobic roughness, liquid-infused surfaces instead rely on a preferentially wetting, liquid lubricant to create a heterogeneous surface of fluid–solid and fluid–fluid interfaces. The mobility of the lubricant within the textures allows the fluid–fluid interfaces to support a finite interfacial slip velocity. In the proper configuration, the collection of slipping interfaces can result in a significant reduction in skin friction drag. However, sustaining this drag reduction is predicated on maintaining the integrity of the lubricating layer. While liquid-infused surfaces are robust to the most common sources of superhydrophobic surface failure, they exhibit a distinct susceptibility to shear/slip-driven drainage. Here, the robustness and behavior of lubricant-infused streamwise microgrooves are studied, in a turbulent channel flow facility. In the presence of external turbulent shear flow, a finite length of lubricant is found to be retained within the microtextures by a mechanism analogous to capillary rise, consistent with the observations of Wexler et al. (Phys Rev Lett 114(16):168301, 2015b), while the remainder of the lubricant is driven out of the surface. This retention mechanism is exploited to maintain a lubricating layer over a larger surface area by using a novel chemical patterning technique. Chemical barriers are scribed along the streamwise length of the grooves. These periodic barriers disrupt the continuity of the streamwise groove and inhibit the downstream drainage of the lubricant. The effectiveness of this approach is evaluated in a turbulent channel flow with promising results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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