Capillary forces between chemically different substrates

E. J. De Souza, Martin Brinkmann, C. Mohrdieck, A. Crosby, E. Arzt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Motivated by experimental results, we present numerical and analytical calculations of the capillary force exerted by a capillary bridge spanning the gap between two parallel flat plates of asymmetric wettabiltiy. Depending on whether the sum of the two contact angles is smaller or larger than 180°, the capillary force is either attractive or repulsive at small separations D between the plates. In either cases the magnitude of the force diverges as D approaches zero. The leading order of this divergence is captured by an analytical expression deduced from the geometry of the meniscus of a flat capillary bridge. The results for substrates with different wettability reveal an interesting behavior: with the sum of the contact angles fixed, the magnitude of the capillary force and the rupture separation decreases as the asymmetry in contact angles is increased. In addition, we present the rupture separation, i.e., the maximal extension of a capillary bridge, as a function of the contact angles. Our results provide an extensive picture of surface wettability effects on capillary adhesion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10161-10168
Issue number18
Early online date13 Aug 2008
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes


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