Ice nucleation on nanotextured surfaces: the influence of surface fraction, pillar height and wetting states†
In this work, we address the nucleation behavior of a supercooled monatomic cylindrical water droplet on nanoscale textured surfaces using molecular dynamics simulations. The ice nucleation rate at 203 K on graphite based textured surfaces with nanoscale roughness is evaluated using the mean fast-passage time method. The simulation results show that the nucleation rate depends on the surface fraction as well as the wetting states. The nucleation rate enhances with increasing surface fraction for water in the Cassie–Baxter state, while contrary behavior is observed for the case of Wenzel state. Based on the spatial histogram distribution of ice formation, we observed two pathways for ice nucleation. Heterogeneous nucleation is observed at a high surface fraction. However, the probability of homogeneous ice nucleation events increases with decreasing surface fraction. We further investigate the role of the nanopillar height in ice nucleation. The nucleation rate is enhanced with increasing nanopillar height. This is attributed to the enhanced contact area with increasing nanopillar height and the shift in nucleation events towards the three-phase contact line associated with the nanotextured surface. The ice-surface work of adhesion for the Wenzel state is found to be 1–2 times higher than that in the Cassie–Baxter state. Furthermore, the work of adhesion of ice in the Wenzel state is found to be linearly dependent on the contour length of the droplet, which is in line with that reported for liquid droplets.