Controlling the breakup of toroidal liquid films on solid surfaces

Edwards, Andrew M. J., Ruiz Gutiérrez, Élfego, Newton, Michael I., McHale, Glen, Wells, Gary, Ledesma Aguilar, Rodrigo and Brown, Carl V. (2021) Controlling the breakup of toroidal liquid films on solid surfaces. Scientific Reports, 11 (1). p. 8120. ISSN 2045-2322

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The breakup of a slender filament of liquid driven by surface tension is a classical fluid dynamics stability problem that is important in many situations where fine droplets are required. When the filament is resting on a flat solid surface which imposes wetting conditions the subtle interplay with the fluid dynamics makes the instability pathways and mode selection difficult to predict. Here, we show how controlling the static and dynamic wetting of a surface can lead to repeatable switching between a toroidal film of an electrically insulating liquid and patterns of droplets of well-defined dimensions confined to a ring geometry. Mode selection between instability pathways to these different final states is achieved by dielectrophoresis forces selectively polarising the dipoles at the solid-liquid interface and so changing both the mobility of the contact line and the partial wetting of the topologically distinct liquid domains. Our results provide insights into the wetting and stability of shaped liquid filaments in simple and complex geometries relevant to applications ranging from printing to digital microfluidic devices.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was supported by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grants EP/R042276/1 and EP/R036837/1.
Subjects: F200 Materials Science
F300 Physics
H800 Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2021 12:00
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 15:50

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