Energy invariance in capillary systems

Ruiz Gutierrez, Elfego, Guan, Jian, Xu, Ben, McHale, Glen, Wells, Gary and Ledesma-Aguilar, Rodrigo (2017) Energy invariance in capillary systems. Physical Review Letters, 118 (21). p. 218003. ISSN 0031-9007

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We demonstrate the continuous translational invariance of the energy of a capillary surface in contact with reconfigurable solid boundaries. We present a theoretical approach to find the energy-invariant equilibria of spherical capillary surfaces in contact with solid boundaries of arbitrary shape and examine the implications of dynamic frictional forces upon of a reconfiguration of the boundaries. Experimentally, we realise our ideas by manipulating the position of a droplet in a wedge geometry using lubricant-impregnated solid surfaces, which eliminate the contact-angle hysteresis and provide a test bed for quantifying dissipative losses out of equilibrium. Our experiments show that dissipative energy losses for an otherwise energy-invariant reconfiguration are relatively small, provided that the actuation timescale is longer than the typical relaxation timescale of the capillary surface. We discuss the wider applicability of our ideas as a pathway for liquid manipulation at no potential energy cost in low-pinning, low-friction situations.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: F200 Materials Science
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 08:12
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 13:51

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