© Designservice WWU / CeNoS

SPP 2171 - Dynamic Wetting of Flexible, Adaptive, and Switchable Substrates

The dynamic process of liquids that wet or dewet various substrates is not only ubiquitous in everyday life, but also of key importance in many technological applications. Prime examples in nature are plumages of birds that retain an insulating layer of air in wet conditions, or the superhydrophobicity of plant leaves. The mechanism by which carnivorous plants prey upon insects relies on an adaptation of their wettability to ambient conditions. In technology, all processes that involve lubrication, adhesives, or surface coatings, depend on the dynamics of wetting processes. Existing work mostly focuses on the influence of the topography and composition of rigid and inert substrates. Recent developments in areas like microelectronics or 3D printing have demonstrated a pressing need to also understand cases in which (de)wetting hydrodynamics and substrate dynamics are strongly coupled. This holds true especially on microscopic and mesoscopic length scales, where (non-)equilibrium surface phenomena dominate.