Vapor condensation is a ubiquitous phase change phenomenon in nature, as well as widely exploited in various industrial applications such as power generation, water treatment and harvesting, heating and cooling, environmental control, and thermal management of electronics. Condensation performance is highly dependent on the interfacial transport and its enhancement promises considerable savings in energy and resources. Recent advances in micro/nano-fabrication and surface chemistry modification techniques have not only enabled exciting interfacial phenomenon and condensation enhancement but also furthered the fundamental understanding of interfacial wetting and transport. In this chapter, we present an overview of dropwise condensation heat transfer with a focus on improving droplet behaviors through surface design and modification. We briefly summarize the basics of interfacial wetting and droplet dynamics in condensation process, discuss the underlying mechanisms of droplet manipulation for condensation enhancement, and introduce some emerging works to illustrate the power of surface modification. Finally, we conclude this chapter by providing the perspectives for future surface design in the field of condensation enhancement.
Part of the book: 21st Century Surface Science