Featured publication (Dec/9/2013)

Curvature of Capillary Bridges as a Competition between Wetting and Confinement

 Authors: David J. Broesch,Filip Dutka, and Joelle Frechette

Langmuir, Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/la403529j


We consider the shape evolution of non-axisymmetric capillary bridges in slit pore geometry as the pore height is increased at constant volume. Experiments and finite element simulations using Surface Evolver have shown that as the height of the pore is increased the mean curvature of the bridge, and hence Laplace pressure, changes its sign from negative to positive. Here we propose an intuitive explanation of this surprising phenomenon. We suggest that it is the balance between the confinement and the wetting properties of the supporting strips that causes the change in sign of the Laplace pressure. The theory proposed relies on three simple approximations, which are tested individually, and is in good agreement with experiments and simulations in the regime where the curvature transition from negative to positive takes place. Theoretical arguments take into account only the wetting properties and geometry of the system (the width and height of the pore). Along with the formula for the curvature, we derive also a relation for the pinning angle of the capillary bridge, which is also verified experimentally.

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