A wetting droplet trapped in the thin gap between two elastic bodies will deflect the bodies towards one another. The deformation increases the total capillary adhesion force by increasing the contact radius and narrowing the gap height. For flat droplets, with a large ratio of radius to gap height, the Laplace pressure causes surface deformations that are orders of magnitude larger than those induced by a sessile droplet of the same radius. We present experiments, scalings, and closed-form solutions that describe the deformation. Using variational techniques, we also show that the problem exhibits a bifurcation, where the gap spontaneously closes due to an incremental increase in drop volume.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)