We present results showing how water drops, produced by ink-jet printing, spread on surfaces patterned with lattices of diamond or triangular posts. Considering post widths typically ~7 m and lattice spacings between 15-40 m, we observe drop shapes with 3,4 and 6-fold symmetry, depending on both the symmetry of the lattice and the shape of the posts. This is a result of the different mechanisms of interface pinning and depinning which depend on the direction of the contact line motion with respect to the post shape. Lattice Boltzmann simulations are used to describe these mechanisms in detail for triangular posts. We also follow the motion of the contact line as the drops evaporate showing that they tend to return to their original shape. To explain this we show that the easy direction for movement is the same for spreading and drying drops. We compare the behaviour of small drops with that of larger drops created by jetting several drops at the same position. We find that the contact line motion is unexpectedly insensitive to drop volume, even when a spherical cap of fluid forms above the posts. The findings are relevant to microfluidic applications and to the control of drop shapes in ink-jet printing.
Vrancken, R. J., Blow, M. L., Kusumaatmaja, H., Hermans, K., Prenen, A. M., Bastiaansen, C. W. M., ... Yeomans, J. M. (2013). Anistropic wetting and de-wetting of drops on substrates patterned with polygonal posts. Soft Matter, 9(3), 674-683. https://doi.org/10.1039/C2SM26393A