Liquid marble formation using hydrophobic powders

P. McEleney, Gavin Walker, I.A. Larmour, Steven Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


This work aims to investigate and quantitatively measure “liquid marble” phenomena using hydrophobic powders (granules). The hydrophobic powders based on a copper substrate were prepared by a silver deposition technique of particle sizes 9 µm, 20 µm and 320 µm and of contact angle with water approaching 160°. The hydrophobic powder poly-methylmethacralate (PMMA) particle size 42 µm and contact angle of 120° was also used to determine the effect of powder density on liquid marble stability. The experimental investigations indicated that for successful formation of liquid marbles a number of variables in addition to hydrophobicity need to be considered, namely: powder density; powder particle size; powder shape; liquid marble formation technique. It was found that liquid marbles were formed using all four powders to varying extents, with a low powder particle size forming more stable liquid marbles. In a series of gravimetric tests, adhered powder mass on liquid marbles was found to be directly proportional to the water droplet surface area. A more complete coverage of the water drops were found with PMMA powder than the hydrophobic granules. Moreover, a further procedure was developed to increase the mechanical strength of the liquid marble, by polymerising methylmethacrylate (MMA) on the surface of a PMMA powder – liquid marble, with the aim of maintaining water within a more robust PMMA – liquid marble shell. This technique may prove to be a novel way of encapsulating drug compounds, such as gentamicin sulphate, for PMMA bone cement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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