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Motion of Drops on Surfaces with Wettability GradientsA liquid drop present on a solid surface can move because of a gradient in wettability along the surface, as manifested by a gradient in the contact angle. The contact angle at a given point on the contact line between a solid and a liquid in a gaseous medium is the angle between the tangent planes to the liquid and the solid surfaces at that point and is measured within the liquid side, by convention. The motion of the drop occurs in the direction of increasing wettability. The cause of the motion is the net force exerted on the drop by the solid surface because of the variation of the contact angle around the periphery. This force causes acceleration of an initially stationary drop, and leads to its motion in the direction of decreasing contact angle. The nature of the motion is determined by the balance between the motivating force and the resisting hydrodynamic force from the solid surface and the surrounding gaseous medium. A wettability gradient can be chemically induced as shown by Chaudhury and Whitesides who provided unambiguous experimental evidence that drops can move in such gradients. The phenomenon can be important in heat transfer applications in low gravity, such as when condensation occurs on a surface. Daniel et al have demonstrated that the velocity of a drop on a surface due to a wettability gradient in the presence of condensation can be more than two orders of magnitude larger than that observed in the absence of condensation. In the present research program, we have begun to study the motion of a drop in a wettability gradient systematically using a model system. Our initial efforts will be restricted to a system in which no condensation occurs. The experiments are performed as follows. First, a rectangular strip of approximate dimensions 10 x 20 mm is cut out of a silicon wafer. The strip is cleaned thoroughly and its surface is exposed to the vapor from an alkylchlorosilane for a period lasting between one and two minutes inside a desiccator. This is done using an approximate line source of the vapor in the form of a string soaked in the alkylchlorosilane. Ordinarily, many fluids, including water, wet the surface of silicon quite well. This means that the contact angle is small. But the silanized surface resists wetting, with contact angles that are as large as 100 degs. Therefore, a gradient of wettability is formed on the silicon surface. The region near the string is highly hydrophobic, and the contact angle decreases gradually toward a small value at the hydrophilic end away from this region. The change in wettability occurs over a distance of several mm. The strip is placed on a platform within a Plexiglas cell. Drops of a suitable liquid are introduced on top of the strip near the hydrophobic end. An optical system attached to a video camera is trained on the drop so that images of the moving drop can be captured on videotape for subsequent analysis. We have performed preliminary experiments with water as well as ethylene glycol drops. Results from these experiments will be presented in the poster. Future plans include the refinement of the experimental system so as to permit images to be recorded from the side as well as the top, and the conduct of a systematic study in which the drop size is varied over a good range. Experiments will be conducted with different fluids so as to obtain the largest possible range of suitably defined Reynolds and Capillary numbers. Also, an effort will be initiated on theoretical modeling of this motion. The challenges in the development of the theoretical description lie in the proper analysis of the region in the vicinity of the contact line, as well as in the free boundary nature of the problem. It is known that continuum models assuming the no slip condition all the way to the contact line fail by predicting that the stress on the solid surface becomes singular as the contact line is approached. One approach for dealing with this issue has been to relax the no-slip boundary condition using the Navier model. Molecular dynamics simulations of the contact line region show that for a non-polar liquid on a solid surface, the no-slip boundary condition is in fact incorrect near the contact line. Furthermore, the same simulations also show that the usual relationship between stress and the rate of deformation breaks down in the vicinity of the contact line. In developing continuum theoretical models of the system, we shall accommodate this knowledge to the extent possible.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Subramanian, R. Shankar
(Clarkson Univ. Potsdam, NY United States)
McLaughlin, John B.
(Clarkson Univ. Potsdam, NY United States)
Moumen, Nadjoua
(Clarkson Univ. Potsdam, NY United States)
Qian, Dongying
(Clarkson Univ. Potsdam, NY United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: Sixth Microgravity Fluid Physics and Transport Phenomena Conference: Exposition Topical Areas 1-6
Volume: 2
Subject Category
Fluid Mechanics And Thermodynamics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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