Wetting of crossed fibers: Multiple steady states and symmetry breaking

Alban Sauret, Alison D. Bick, Camille Duprat, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We investigate the wetting properties of the simplest element of an array of random fibers: two rigid fibers crossing with an inclination angle and in contact with a droplet of a perfectly wetting liquid. We show experimentally that the liquid adopts different morphologies when the inclination angle is increased: a column shape, a mixed morphology state where a drop lies at the end of a column, or a drop centered at the node. An analytical model is provided that predicts the wetting length as well as the presence of a non-symmetric state in the mixed morphology regime. The model also highlights a symmetry breaking at the transition between the column state and the mixed morphology. The possibility to tune the morphology of the liquid could have important implications for drying processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56006
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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