Xu, W.; Lan, Z.; Peng, B. L.; Wen, R. F.; Ma, X. H.
Effect of surface free energies on the heterogeneous nucleation of water droplet: A molecular dynamics simulation approach
JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 142 Art. No. 054701, FEB 7 2015

Heterogeneous nucleation of water droplet on surfaces with different solid-liquid interaction intensities is investigated by molecular dynamics simulation. The interaction potentials between surface atoms and vapor molecules are adjusted to obtain various surface free energies, and the nucleation process and wetting state of nuclei on surfaces are investigated. The results indicate that near-constant contact angles are already established for nano-scale nuclei on various surfaces, with the contact angle decreasing with solid-liquid interaction intensities linearly. Meanwhile, noticeable fluctuation of vapor-liquid interfaces can be observed for the nuclei that deposited on surfaces, which is caused by the asymmetric forces from vapor molecules. The formation and growth rate of nuclei are increasing with the solid-liquid interaction intensities. For low energy surface, the attraction of surface atoms to water molecules is comparably weak, and the pre-existing clusters can depart from the surface and enter into the bulk vapor phase. The distribution of clusters within the bulk vapor phase becomes competitive as compared with that absorbed on surface. For moderate energy surfaces, heterogeneous nucleation predominates and the formation of clusters within bulk vapor phase is suppressed. The effect of high energy particles that embedded in low energy surface is also discussed under the same simulation system. The nucleation preferably initiates on the high energy particles, and the clusters that formed on the heterogeneous particles are trapped around their original positions instead of migrating around as that observed on smooth surfaces. This feature makes it possible for the heterogeneous particles to act as fixed nucleation sites, and simulation results also suggest that the number of nuclei increases monotonously with the number of high energy particles. The growth of nuclei on high energy particles can be divided into three sub-stages, beginning with the formation of a wet-spot, increase of contact angle with near-constant contact line, and finally growth with constant contact angle. The growth rate of nuclei also increases with the size of high energy particles. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.


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