Wettability and Surface Free Energy Analyses of Monolayer Graphene

RX Su and X Zhang, JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE, 27, 359-363 (2018).

DOI: 10.1007/s11630-018-1015-2

Recently Rafiee et al. experimentally demonstrated the wetting transparency of graphene, but there is still no comprehensive theoretical explanation of this physical phenomenon. Since surface free energy is one of the most important parameters characterizing material surfaces and is closely related to the wetting behavior, the surface free energy of suspended monolayer graphene is analyzed based on its microscopic formation mechanism. The surface free energy of suspended monolayer graphene is shown to be zero, which suggests its super- hydrophobicity. Neumann's equation of state is applied to further illustrate the contact angle, theta, of any liquid droplet on a suspended monolayer graphene is 180o. This indicates that the van der Waals (vdW) interactions between the monolayer graphene and any liquid droplet are negligible; thus the monolayer graphene coatings exhibit wetting transparency to the underlying substrate. Moreover, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are employed to further confirm the wetting transparency of graphene in comparison with experimental results of Rafiee et al. These findings provide a fundamental picture of wetting on ideal single atomic layer materials, including monolayer graphene. Thus, these results provide a useful guide for the design and manufacture of biomaterials, medical instruments, and renewable energy devices with monolayer graphene layers.

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