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Contact Angle of Water on Smooth Surfaces and Wettability

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A surface is said to be wetted if a liquid spreads over the surface evenly without the formation of droplets. When the liquid is water and it spreads over the surface without the formation of droplets, the surface is said to be hydrophilic. In terms of energetics, this implies that the forces associated with the interaction of water with the surface are greater than the cohesive forces associated with bulk liquid water. Water droplets form on hydrophobic surfaces, implying that the cohesive forces associated with bulk water are greater than the forces associated with the interaction of water with the surface.

 

contact angle and measuring contact angle 

Contact Angle Defines Wettability

Practically, hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity are relative terms. A simple quantitative method for defining the relative degree of interaction of a liquid with a solid surface is the contact angle of a liquid droplet on a solid substrate. If the contact angle of water is less than 30°, the surface is designated hydrophilic since the forces of interaction between water and the surface nearly equal the cohesive forces of bulk water and water does not cleanly drain from the surface. If water spreads over a surface and the contact angle at the spreading front edge of the water is less than 10°, the surface is often designated as superhydrophilic (provided that the surface is not absorbing the water, dissolving in the water or reacting with the water). On a hydrophobic surface, water forms distinct droplets. As the hydrophobicity increases, the contact angle of the droplets with the surface increases. Surfaces with contact angles greater than 90° are designated as hydrophobic. The theoretical maximum contact angle for water on a smooth surface is 120°. Micro-textured or micro-patterned surfaces with hydrophobic asperities can exhibit apparent contact angles exceeding 150° and are associated with superhydrophobicity and the “lotus effect”.


Hydrophilic surface ”good wetting” Ordinary Surface-“typical wetting”
Hydrophobic surface “poor wetting”   super-hydrophobic surface 

 The following chart outlines the relative level of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity.


- Super-hydrophobic 150° and greater
- Hydrophobic 90° to 120°
- Normal 30° to 90°*
- Hydrophilic below 20°
- Super-hydrophilic below 10°

Contact Angle of Water on Smooth Surfaces

 

No.

Name

Contact angle θ

1

heptadecafluorodecyltrimethoxysilane*

115°

2

(heptafluoroisopropoxy) propyltrichlorosilane*

109-111°

3

poly(tetrafluoroethylene)

108-112°

4

poly(propylene)

108°

5

octadecyldimethylchlorosilane*

110°

6

octadecyltrichlorosilane*

102-109°

7

tris(trimethylsiloxy)- silylethyldimethylchlorosilane

104°

8

octyldimethylchlorosilane*

104°

9

dimethyldichlorosilane*

95-105°

10

butyldimethylchlorosilane*

100°

11

trimethylchlorosilane*

90-100°

12

poly(ethylene)

88-103°

13

poly(styrene)

94°

14

poly(chlorotrifluoroethylene)

90°

15

human skin

75-90°

16

diamond

87°

17

graphite

86°

18

silicon (etched)

86-88°

19

talc

50-55°

20

chitosan

80-81°

21

steel

70-75°

22

methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane

70°

23

gold, typical (see gold, clean)

66°

24

triethoxysilylpropoxy(triethylenoxy)- dodecanoate*

61-2°

25

intestinal mucosa

50-60°

26

glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane*

49°

27

kaolin

42-46°

28

platinum

40°

29

silicon nitride

28-30°

30

silver iodide

17°

31

methoxy(polyethyleneoxy)propyltrimethoxysilane*

15.5°

32

soda-lime glass

<15°

33

gold, clean

<10°

 *Note: Contact angles for silanes refer to smooth treated surfaces.

 

 

 

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