Smoothed particle hydrodynamics study of the roughness effect on contact angle and droplet flow

Elena Shigorina, Jannes Kordilla, Alexandre M. Tartakovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We employ a pairwise force smoothed particle hydrodynamics (PF-SPH) model to simulate sessile and transient droplets on rough hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces. PF-SPH allows modeling of free-surface flows without discretizing the air phase, which is achieved by imposing the surface tension and dynamic contact angles with pairwise interaction forces. We use the PF-SPH model to study the effect of surface roughness and microscopic contact angle on the effective contact angle and droplet dynamics. In the first part of this work, we investigate static contact angles of sessile droplets on different types of rough surfaces. We find that the effective static contact angles of Cassie and Wenzel droplets on a rough surface are greater than the corresponding microscale static contact angles. As a result, microscale hydrophobic rough surfaces also show effective hydrophobic behavior. On the other hand, microscale hydrophilic surfaces may be macroscopically hydrophilic or hydrophobic, depending on the type of roughness. We study the dependence of the transition between Cassie and Wenzel states on roughness and droplet size, which can be linked to the critical pressure for the given fluid-substrate combination. We observe good agreement between simulations and theoretical predictions. Finally, we study the impact of the roughness orientation (i.e., an anisotropic roughness) and surface inclination on droplet flow velocities. Simulations show that droplet flow velocities are lower if the surface roughness is oriented perpendicular to the flow direction. If the predominant elements of surface roughness are in alignment with the flow direction, the flow velocities increase compared to smooth surfaces, which can be attributed to the decrease in fluid-solid contact area similar to the lotus effect. We demonstrate that classical linear scaling relationships between Bond and capillary numbers for droplet flow on flat surfaces also hold for flow on rough surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033115
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 28 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Smoothed particle hydrodynamics study of the roughness effect on contact angle and droplet flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this