Elastohydrodynamic Dewetting of Thin Liquid Films: Elucidating Underwater Adhesion of Topographically Patterned Surfaces

Maciej Chudak, Vaishali Chopra, René Hensel, Anton A. Darhuber (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In underwater adhesion of a topographically patterned surface with a very soft material such as human skin, the elastic deformation can be large enough to achieve solid-on-solid contact not only on top of the hills but also in the valleys of the substrate topography. In this context, we have studied the dynamics of dewetting of a thin liquid film confined between a rigid, periodic micropillar array and a soft, elastic sphere. In our experiments, we observed two very distinct dewetting morphologies. For large ratios of array period to micropillar height and width, the dewetted areas tend to have a diamond-like shape and expand with a rate similar to a flat, unpatterned substrate. When the array period is reduced, the morphology of the dry spot becomes irregular and its expansion rate is significantly reduced. We developed a fully coupled numerical model of the dewetting process that reproduces the key features observed in experiments. Moreover, we performed contact mechanics simulations to characterize the deformation of the elastomer and the shape of the dewetted area in a unit cell of the micropillar array.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11929-11937
Number of pages9
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 642861.

FundersFunder number
Marie Skłodowska‐Curie
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme642861


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