The atomic detail of a wetting/de-wetting flow

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Atomistic simulation is used to study flow in the vicinity of the advancing (wetting) and receding (de-wetting) solid-liquid-vapor contact lines of a two-dimensional (in the mean) liquid drop in thermodynamic equilibrium with its own vapor and moving steadily on an atomically smooth solid surface under the influence of an applied body force. Wetting and de-wetting are found to be asymmetric, counter to some predictions based on linear theory. There is a rolling flow of the liquid in the drop and a dividing streamline extends from the wetting common line into the displaced vapor as observed macroscopically. At the de-wetting common line there is substantial evaporation, which alters the flow field behind the drop. Evaporation is also observed above the advancing contact line, but there is a net mass flux into the drop right at the contact line. There is evidence of slip flow just in advance of the wetting contact line, but not at the de-wetting line. Results are discussed in the context of phase-field models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L33-L36
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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