Behaviour of flexible superhydrophobic striped surfaces during (electro-)wetting of a sessile drop†
We study here the microscopic deformations of elastic lamellae constituting a superhydrophobic substrate under different wetting conditions of a sessile droplet using electrowetting. The deformation profiles of the lamellae are experimentally evaluated using confocal microscopy. These experimental results are then explained using a variational principle formalism within the framework of linear elasticity. We show that the local deformation profile of a lamella is mainly controlled by the net horizontal component of the capillary forces acting on its top due to the pinned droplet contact line. We also discuss the indirect role of electrowetting in dictating the deformation characteristics of the elastic lamellae. One important conclusion is that the small deflection assumption, which is frequently used in the literature, fails to provide a quantitative description of the experimental results; a full solution of the non-linear governing equation is necessary to describe the experimentally obtained deflection profiles.