Off-equilibrium surface tension in miscible fluids
The interfacial tension between immiscible fluids is responsible for a wealth of every-day phenomena, from the spherical shape of small drops and bubbles to the ability to walk on water of many insects. More than a century ago, physicist and mathematician D. Korteweg postulated the existence of an effective interface tension for miscible fluids, whenever a composition gradient exists, as encountered, e.g., in many flow geometries. In this mini-review, we discuss experimental work performed in the last decades that demonstrates the existence of a positive effective interface tension in a variety of systems, from molecular, near-critical liquids to complex fluids such as polymer solutions and colloidal suspensions. The various experimental strategies that have been deployed are discussed, together with their advantages and limitations. Finally, some of the key theoretical questions still open are outlined.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Soft Matter Emerging Investigators