A study on air bubble wetting: Role of surface wettability, surface tension, and ionic surfactants

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Fabrication of hydrophobic/hydrophilic surfaces by biomimicking nature has attracted significant attention recently due to their potential usage in technologies, ranging from self-cleaning to DNA condensation. Despite the potential applications, compared to surfaces of tailored wettability, less attention has been paid towards development and understanding of air bubble adhesion and its dynamics on surfaces with varying wettability. In this manuscript, following the commonly used approach of oxygen plasma treatment, polydimethylsiloxane surfaces with tunable wettability are prepared. The role of plasma treatment conditions on the surface hydrophilicity and the consequent effect on adhesion dynamics of an underwater air bubble is explored for the first time. The ATR-FTIR spectroscopic analysis reveals that the change in hydrophilicity arises from the chemical modification of the surface, manifested as Si-OH vibrations in the spectra. The thickness of the formed thin liquid film at the surface responsible for the experimentally observed air bubble repellency is estimated from the augmented Young-Laplace equation. The concentration dependent studies using cationic as well as anionic surfactant elucidate that the reduced surface tension of the aqueous solution results in a stable thicker film and causes non-adherence of air bubble to the aerophilic surface. Furthermore, the study carried out to understand the combined effect of plasma treatment and surfactants reveals that even below critical micelle concentration, a negatively charged surface results in air bubble repellency for the anionic surfactant, whereas only enhanced air bubble contact angle is observed for the cationic surfactant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15-07-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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