Dynamics of wetting: From inertial spreading to viscous imbibition

L. Courbin, J. C. Bird, M. Reyssat, H. A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


We report the influence of the nature of boundaries on the dynamics of wetting. We review some work recently published and highlight new experimental observations. Our paper begins with the spreading of drops on substrates and demonstrates how the exponents of the spreading laws are affected either by the surface chemistry or by the droplet shape. We then discuss the imbibition of completely and partially wetting fluids into channels and over microtextured surfaces. Starting with the one-dimensional imbibition of completely wetting liquids in tubes and surface textures, we show that (i)shape variations of channels change the power-law response of the imbibition and (ii)the geometrical parameters of a surface roughness change the spreading behavior. For partially wetting fluids, we observe directionally dependent spreading: polygonal wetted domains can be obtained. We conclude with a tabular summary of our findings, allowing us to draw connections between the different systems investigated, and shed light on open questions that remain to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number464127
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number46
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science


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