Delayed coalescence of surfactant containing sessile droplets

M.A. Bruning (Corresponding Author), M. Costalonga, S. Karpitschka, J.H. Snoeijer

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17 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


When two sessile drops of the same liquid touch, they merge into one drop, driven by capillarity. However, the coalescence can be delayed, or even completely stalled for a substantial period of time, when the two drops have different surface tensions, despite being perfectly miscible. A temporary state of noncoalescence arises, during which the drops move on their substrate, only connected by a thin neck between them. Existing literature covers pure liquids and mixtures with low surface activities. In this paper, we focus on the case of large surface activities, using aqueous surfactant solutions with varying concentrations. It is shown that the coalescence behavior can be classified into three regimes that occur for different surface tensions and contact angles of the droplets at initial contact. However, not all phenomenology can be predicted from surface tension contrast or contact angles alone, but strongly depends on the surfactant concentrations as well. This reveals that the merging process is not solely governed by hydrodynamics and geometry, but also depends on the molecular physics of surface adsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number073605
JournalPhysical review fluids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018


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