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Issue 15, 2014
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Universal spreading of water drops on complex surfaces

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A drop of water spreads very rapidly just after it is gently deposited on a solid surface. Here we experimentally investigate how these early stages of spreading are influenced by different types of surface complexity. In particular, we consider micro-textured substrates, chemically striped substrates and soft substrates. For all these complex substrates, it is found that there always exists an inertial regime where the radius r of the wetted area grows as rt1/2. For perfectly wetting substrates, this regime extends over several decades in time, whereas we observe a deviation from a pure power-law for partially wetting substrates. Our experiments reveal that even the cross-over from the 1/2 power law to the final equilibrium radius displays a universal dynamics. This cross-over is governed only by the final contact angle, regardless of the details of the substrate.

Graphical abstract: Universal spreading of water drops on complex surfaces

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Sep 2013, accepted on 10 Jan 2014 and first published on 10 Jan 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52464G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 2641-2648

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    Universal spreading of water drops on complex surfaces

    B. B. J. Stapelbroek, H. P. Jansen, E. S. Kooij, J. H. Snoeijer and A. Eddi, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 2641
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52464G

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