A novel approach for mitigating environmental dust from hydrophobic surfaces using a water droplet is presented. A sessile droplet is sandwiched between two parallel plates, one of which is moveable and hydrophilic while the other is stationary and hydrophobic. Investigations are conducted into how plate spacing affects the dust mitigation rate and the droplet's level motion. The high-speed camera analyzes the droplet motion for various plate spacing, dusty regions, and droplet sizes. In a controlled laboratory setting, the movement of fluid and dust particles inside a droplet is simulated. The results showed that when a droplet is still, it effectively reduces dust. The droplet meniscus expands by decreasing the gap between the droplet and the surface, increasing the dust removal rate. While the Magdeburg force and surface tension influence the droplet's adhesion to a hydrophobic surface, surface tension remains the primary factor affecting droplet pinning on a hydrophilic plate, more so than pinning on a dusty hydrophobic surface. When compressing, a current is created in the droplet fluid, greatly accelerating the rate at which dust is removed from the hydrophobic surface. We also move a dangling droplet over a dirty surface to evaluate its cleaning effectiveness and find that a 60 µL droplet has a 97% cleaning effectiveness and can remove dust from up to 450 mm2 of surface area. Our study provides insight into the unique method of removing dust from active surfaces and sheds light on droplet pinning forces generated by the Magdeburg effect in nano-cavities during vertical and horizontal movement.
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