Issue 20, 2017

Shape of a sessile drop on a flat surface covered with a liquid film


Motivated by the development of lubricant-infused slippery surfaces, we study a sessile drop of a nonvolatile (ionic) liquid which is embedded in a slowly evaporating lubricant film (n-decane) on a horizontal, planar solid substrate. Using laser scanning confocal microscopy we imaged the evolution of the shape of the liquid/liquid and liquid/air interfaces, including the angles between them. Results are compared to solutions of the generalized Laplace equations describing the drop profile and the annular wetting ridge. For all film thicknesses, experimental results agree quantitatively with the calculated drop and film shapes. With the verified theory we can predict height and volume of the wetting ridge. Two regimes can be distinguished: for macroscopically thick films (excess lubrication) the meniscus size is insensitive to changes in film thickness. Once the film is thin enough that surface forces between the lubricant/air and solid/lubricant interfaces become significant the meniscus changes significantly with varying film thickness (starved lubrication). The size of the meniscus is particularly relevant because it affects sliding angles of drops on lubricant-infused surfaces.

Graphical abstract: Shape of a sessile drop on a flat surface covered with a liquid film

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Article information

Article type
02 Mar 2017
21 Apr 2017
First published
04 May 2017
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2017,13, 3760-3767

Shape of a sessile drop on a flat surface covered with a liquid film

M. Tress, S. Karpitschka, P. Papadopoulos, J. H. Snoeijer, D. Vollmer and H. Butt, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 3760 DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00437K

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