On homogeneous substrates, droplets can slide due to external driving forces, such as gravity, whereas in the presence of wettability gradients, sliding occurs without external forces since this gradient gives rise to an internal driving force. Here, we study via molecular dynamics simulations the more complex behavior when droplets are driven under the combined influence of an external and internal driving force. For comparison, the limiting cases of a single driving force are studied as well. During a large part of the sliding process over the borderline of both substrates, separating both wettabilities, the velocity is nearly constant. When expressing it as the product of the effective mobility and the effective force, the effective mobility mainly depends on the mobility of the initial substrate, experienced by the receding contact line. This observation can be reconciled with the properties of the flow pattern, indicating that the desorption of particles at the receding contact line is the time-limiting step. The effective force is the sum of the external force and a renormalized internal force. This renormalization can be interpreted as stronger dissipation effects when driving occurs via wettability gradients.
Wettability gradient-driven droplets with an applied external force
Note: This paper is part of the JCP Special Topic on Chemical Physics of Controlled Wettability and Super Surfaces.
Leon Topp, Lena Haddick, Dominik Mählmann, Andreas Heuer; Wettability gradient-driven droplets with an applied external force. J. Chem. Phys. 7 May 2023; 158 (17): 174703. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0146910
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