Two-component marangoni-contracted droplets: friction and shape
When a mixture of propylene glycol and water is deposited on a clean glass slide, it forms a droplet of a given apparent contact angle rather than spreading as one would expect on such a high-energy surface. The droplet is stabilized by a Marangoni flow due to the non-uniformity of the components' concentrations between the border and the apex of the droplet, itself a result of evaporation. These self-contracting droplets have unusual properties such as absence of pinning and the ability to move under an external humidity gradient. The droplets' apparent contact angles are a function of their concentration and the external humidity. Here we study the motion of such droplets sliding down slopes and compare the results to normal non-volatile droplets. We precisely control the external humidity and explore the influence of the volume, viscosity, surface tension, and contact angle. We find that the droplets suffer a negligible pinning force so that for small velocities the capillary number (Ca) is directly proportional to the Bond number (Bo): Ca = Bo sin α with α the angle of the slope. Lastly we study the successive shapes the droplets take when sliding at larger and larger velocities.