Liquid water can slip on a hydrophilic surface

TA Ho and DV Papavassiliou and LL Lee and A Striolo, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 108, 16170-16175 (2011).

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105189108

Understanding and predicting the behavior of water, especially in contact with various surfaces, is a scientific challenge. Molecular- level understanding of hydrophobic effects and their macroscopic consequences, in particular, is critical to many applications. Macroscopically, a surface is classified as hydrophilic or hydrophobic depending on the contact angle formed by a water droplet. Because hydrophobic surfaces tend to cause water slip whereas hydrophilic ones do not, the former surfaces can yield self-cleaning garments and ice- repellent materials whereas the latter cannot. The results presented herein suggest that this dichotomy might be purely coincidental. Our simulation results demonstrate that hydrophilic surfaces can show features typically associated with hydrophobicity, namely liquid water slip. Further analysis provides details on the molecular mechanism responsible for this surprising result.

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