Daniel J. Preston, Daniela L. Mafra, Nenad Miljkovic, Jing Kong, and Evelyn N. Wang
Water vapor condensation is commonly observed in nature and routinely used as an effective means of transferring heat with dropwise condensation on nonwetting surfaces exhibiting heat transfer improvement compared to filmwise condensation on wetting surfaces. However, state-of-the-art techniques to promote dropwise condensation rely on functional hydrophobic coatings that either have challenges with chemical stability or are so thick that any potential heat transfer improvement is negated due to the added thermal resistance of the coating. In this work, we show the effectiveness of ultrathin scalable chemical vapor deposited (CVD) graphene coatings to promote dropwise condensation while offering robust chemical stability and maintaining low thermal resistance. Heat transfer enhancements of 4× were demonstrated compared to filmwise condensation, and the robustness of these CVD coatings was superior to typical hydrophobic monolayer coatings. Our results indicate that graphene is a promising surface coating to promote dropwise condensation of water in industrial conditions with the potential for scalable application via CVD.