Three-Dimensional Superhydrophobic Nanowire Networks for Enhancing Condensation Heat Transfer

Ronggui Yang, Rongfu Wen, Shanshan Xu, Xuehu Ma, Yung-Cheng Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus Citations


Spontaneous droplet jumping on nanostructured surfaces can potentially enhance condensation heat transfer by accelerating droplet removal. However, uncontrolled nucleation in the micro-defects of nanostructured superhydrophobic surfaces could lead to the formation of large pinned droplets, which greatly degrades the performance. Here, we experimentally demonstrate for the first time stable and efficient jumping droplet condensation on a superhydrophobic surface with three-dimensional (3D) copper nanowire networks. Due to the formation of interconnections among nanowires, the micro-defects are eliminated while the spacing between nanowires is reduced, which results in the formation of highly mobile droplets. By preventing flooding on 3D nanowire networks, we experimentally demonstrate a 100% higher heat flux compared with that on the state-of-the-art hydrophobic surface over a wide range of subcooling (up to 28 K). The remarkable water repellency of 3D nanowire networks can be applied to a broad range of water-harvesting and phase-change heat transfer applications.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-71141


  • condensation
  • droplet dynamics
  • electronic cooling
  • heat transfer enhancement
  • nanostructures
  • nucleation control
  • self-jumping
  • superhydrophobic
  • thermal management


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