Drawing liquid bridges from a thin viscous film

Diana Garcia-Gonzalez, Michiel A. Hack, Michael Kappl, Hans Jürgen Butt, Jacco H. Snoeijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When a particle, such as dust, contacts a thin liquid film covering a surface it is trapped by the liquid. This effect is caused by the formation of a meniscus, resulting in a capillary force that makes the particle adhere to the surface. While capillary adhesion is well-characterised in static situations, the dynamic formation of the liquid bridge after the initial contact is highly intricate. Here, we experimentally study the evolution of a liquid bridge after a glass sphere is gently brought into contact with a thin viscous film. It is found that the contact creates a ripple on the thin film, which influences the growth of the meniscus. Initially, the ripple and the meniscus are coupled and exhibit similar dynamics. This initial regime is well accounted for by a scaling law derived from lubrication theory. At a later stage, the ripple is “detached” from the liquid bridge, leading to a second regime of bridge dynamics. As a result, capillary forces are time-dependent, highlighting the importance of dynamics on adhesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1241-1248
Number of pages8
JournalSoft matter
Issue number6
Early online date23 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2023


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