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Title:Solid-liquid interactions in microscale structures and devices
Author(s):Li, Huan
Director of Research:Hsia, K. Jimmy
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hsia, K. Jimmy
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Saif, M. Taher A.; Hilgenfeldt, Sascha; Bashir, Rashid
Department / Program:Mechanical Sci & Engineering
Discipline:Mechanical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Self-assembly
capillary force
folding
thin films
bending rigidity
hydrophobicity
wetting
contact line
contact angle
contact angle hysteresis
microtexture
Micropattern
force sensor
Pinning
depinning
Abstract:Liquid-solid interactions become important as dimensions approach mciro/nano-scale. This dissertation focuses on liquid-solid interactions in two distinct applications: capillary driven self-assembly of thin foils into 3D structures, and droplet wetting of hydrophobic micropatterned surfaces. The phenomenon of self-assembly of complex structures is common in biological systems. Examples include self-assembly of proteins into macromolecular structures and self-assembly of lipid bilayer membranes. The principles governing this phenomenon have been applied to induce self-assembly of millimeter scale Si thin films into spherical and other 3D structures, which are then integrated into light-trapping photovoltaic (PV) devices. Motivated by this application, we present a generalized analytical study of the self-folding of thin plates into deterministic 3D shapes, through fluid-solid interactions, to be used as PV devices. This study consists of developing a model using beam theory, which incorporates the two competing components — a capillary force that promotes folding and the bending rigidity of the foil that resists folding into a 3D structure. Through an equivalence argument of thin foils of different geometry, an effective folding parameter, which uniquely characterizes the driving force for folding, has been identified. A criterion for spontaneous folding of an arbitrarily shaped 2D foil, based on the effective folding parameter, is thus established. Measurements from experiments using different materials and predictions from the model match well, validating the assumptions used in the analysis. As an alternative to the mechanics model approach, the minimization of the total free energy is employed to investigate the interactions between a fluid droplet and a flexible thin film. A 2D energy functional is proposed, comprising the surface energy of the fluid, bending energy of the thin film and gravitational energy of the fluid. Through simulations with Surface Evolver, the shapes of the droplet and the thin film at equilibrium are obtained. A critical thin film length necessary for complete enclosure of the fluid droplet, and hence successful self-assembly into a PV device, is determined and compared with the experimental results and mechanics model predictions. The results from the modeling and energy approaches and the experiments are all consistent. Superhydrophobic surfaces, which have unique properties including self-cleaning and water repelling are desired in many applications. One excellent example in nature is the lotus leaf. To fabricate these surfaces, well designed micro/nano- surface structures are often employed. In this research, we fabricate superhydrophobic micropatterned Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surfaces composed of micropillars of various sizes and arrangements by means of soft lithography. Both anisotropic surfaces, consisting of parallel grooves and cylindrical pillars in rectangular lattices, and isotropic surfaces, consisting of cylindrical pillars in square and hexagonal lattices, are considered. A novel technique is proposed to image the contact line (CL) of the droplet on the hydrophobic surface. This technique provides a new approach to distinguish between partial and complete wetting. The contact area between droplet and microtextured surface is then measured for a droplet in the Cassie state, which is a state of partial wetting. The results show that although the droplet is in the Cassie state, the contact area does not necessarily follow Cassie model predictions. Moreover, the CL is not circular, and is affected by the micropatterns, in both isotropic and anisotropic cases. Thus, it is suggested that along with the contact angle — the typical parameter reported in literature quantifying wetting, the size and shape of the contact area should also be presented. This technique is employed to investigate the evolution of the CL on a hydrophobic micropatterned surface in the cases of: a single droplet impacting the micropatterned surface, two droplets coalescing on micropillars, and a receding droplet resting on the micropatterned surface. Another parameter which quantifies hydrophobicity is the contact angle hysteresis (CAH), which indicates the resistance of the surface to the sliding of a droplet with a given volume. The conventional methods of using advancing and receding angles or tilting stage to measure the resistance of the micropatterned surface are indirect, without mentioning the inaccuracy due to the discrete and stepwise motion of the CL on micropillars. A micronewton force sensor is utilized to directly measure the resisting force by dragging a droplet on a microtextured surface. Together with the proposed imaging technique, the evolution of the CL during sliding is also explored. It is found that, at the onset of sliding, the CL behaves as a linear elastic solid with a constant stiffness. Afterwards, the force first increases and then decreases and reaches a steady state, accompanied with periodic oscillations due to regular pinning and depinning of the CL. Both the maximum and steady state forces are primarily dependent on area fractions of the micropatterned surfaces in our experiment. The resisting force is found to be proportional to the number of pillars which pin the CL at the trailing edge, validating the assumption that the resistance mainly arises from the CL pinning at the trailing edge. In each pinning-and-depinning cycle during the steady state, the CL also shows linear elastic behavior but with a lower stiffness. The force variation and energy dissipation involved can also be determined. This novel method of measuring the resistance of the micropatterned surface elucidates the dependence on CL pinning and provides more insight into the mechanisms of CAH.
Issue Date:2012-02-01
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/29422
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Huan Li
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-01
2014-02-01
Date Deposited:2011-12


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