Contact Angles on a Soft Solid: From Young’s Law to Neumann’s Law

Antonin Marchand, Siddhartha Das, Jacco H. Snoeijer, Bruno Andreotti

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126 Citations (Scopus)
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The contact angle that a liquid drop makes on a soft substrate does not obey the classical Young’s relation, since the solid is deformed elastically by the action of the capillary forces. The finite elasticity of the solid also renders the contact angles differently from those predicted by Neumann’s law, which applies when the drop is floating on another liquid. Here, we derive an elastocapillary model for contact angles on a soft solid by coupling a mean-field model for the molecular interactions to elasticity. We demonstrate that the limit of a vanishing elastic modulus yields Neumann’s law or a variation thereof, depending on the force transmission in the solid surface layer. The change in contact angle from the rigid limit to the soft limit appears when the length scale defined by the ratio of surface tension to elastic modulus γ/E reaches the range of molecular interactio
Original languageEnglish
Article number236101
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-292951
  • IR-83134


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