Short-time dynamics of partial wetting

James C. Bird, Shreyas Mandre, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Scopus citations

Abstract

When a liquid drop contacts a wettable surface, the liquid spreads over the solid to minimize the total surface energy. The first moments of spreading tend to be rapid. For example, a millimeter-sized water droplet will wet an area having the same diameter as the drop within a millisecond. For perfectly wetting systems, this spreading is inertially dominated. Here we identify that even in the presence of a contact line, the initial wetting is dominated by inertia rather than viscosity. We find that the spreading radius follows a power-law scaling in time where the exponent depends on the equilibrium contact angle. We propose a model, consistent with the experimental results, in which the surface spreading is regulated by the generation of capillary waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number234501
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume100
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 11 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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