Superhydrophobic structures on 316L stainless steel surfaces machined by nanosecond pulsed laser

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In this paper nanosecond laser machining process was developed to improve the hydrophobicity of AISI 316L stainless steel surface. A geometrical model of laser machined Gaussian micro hole, together with constrain conditions, was established for the first time to predict surface contact angle and optimize structure geometries for maximizing its hydrophobicity. The effects of processing laser power and pitch of microstructures on the topography of the machined surface were investigated through laser machining experiment. Subsequently, the water droplet contact angle was measured to evaluate the hydrophobicity of different specimens. Results show that under the laser power of 10 W and 14 W, with the increase of the pitch of microstructures, the contact angle increases until it reaches its peak value then drops gradually. Under the large pitch of microstructure, the contact angle will increase with the increase of the processing laser power. Under the same pitch of microstructure, the contact angle will increase with the increase of ten-point height of surface topography, Sz which is a better parameter than Sa (arithmetical mean height) to characterise hydrophobicity of surface with Gaussian holes. This study shows that large Sz is an essential condition to form the stable and robust Cassie–Baxter state, i.e. a condition to achieve superhydrophobicity. The comparison between the predicted and measured contact angles in experiments shows that the proposed model can accurately predict contact angle and optimize the geometries of the microstructure to achieve maximum hydrophobicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-275
Number of pages10
JournalPrecision Engineering
Early online date8 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018



  • superhydrophobic surface
  • 316L stainless steel
  • nano-second pulse laser
  • surface structuring

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