Short time dynamics of viscous drop spreading

A.C.A. Eddi, K.G. Winkels, Jacobus Hendrikus Snoeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Liquid drops start spreading directly after coming into contact with a solid substrate. Although this phenomenon involves a three-phase contact line, the spreading motion can be very fast. We experimentally study the initial spreading dynamics, characterized by the radius of the wetted area, for viscous drops. Using high-speed imaging with synchronized bottom and side views gives access to 6 decades of time resolution. We show that short time spreading does not exhibit a pure power-law growth. Instead, we find a spreading velocity that decreases logarithmically in time, with a dynamics identical to that of coalescing viscous drops. Remarkably, the contact line dissipation and wetting effects turn out to be unimportant during the initial stages of drop spreading
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)013102-
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-297848
  • IR-89972


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