Droplets Sit and Slide Anisotropically on Soft, Stretched Substrates

Katrina Smith-Mannschott, Qin Xu, Stefanie Heyden, Nicolas Bain, Jacco H. Snoeijer, Eric R. Dufresne, Robert W. Style*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Anisotropically wetting substrates enable useful control of droplet behavior across a range of applications. Usually, these involve chemically or physically patterning the substrate surface, or applying gradients in properties like temperature or electrical field. Here, we show that a flat, stretched, uniform soft substrate also exhibits asymmetric wetting, both in terms of how droplets slide and in their static shape. Droplet dynamics are strongly affected by stretch: Glycerol droplets on silicone substrates with a 23% stretch slide 67% faster in the direction parallel to the applied stretch than in the perpendicular direction. Contrary to classical wetting theory, static droplets in equilibrium appear elongated, oriented parallel to the stretch direction. Both effects arise from droplet-induced deformations of the substrate near the contact line.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158004
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021

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