Steric effects of ions in the charge-related wetting phenomena

C. K. Hua, I. S. Kang, K. H. Kang, H. A. Stone

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Steric effects of ions on the charge-related wetting phenomena are studied. Along with a general treatment, three specific problems in two-dimensional system are considered: a droplet on an electrode, a droplet on a charged surface, and an electrowetting phenomenon on a dielectric. For computation of wetting tension, the electromechanical approach is adopted with the principle of mechanical force balance for each phase. The modified Poisson-Boltzmann equation, which was originally proposed by Bikerman [Philos. Mag. 33, 384 (1942)], is adopted for the analysis of the steric effects. It is found that the steric hindrance reduces significantly both the osmotic pressure and the electrical stress near the triple contact line. This reduction results in a considerable decrease in the wetting tension when the ratio of the capacitance per unit area of the electrical double layer to that of the dielectric layer is small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036314
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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