The Interfacial Physics Group

Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics

Experimental Investigation of Dynamic Wetting Models: Interface Shapes and Velocity Fields near the Moving Contact Line by Qun Chen

PhD thesis, Carnegie Mellon University, Dept. of Physics, (Year)
Advisor: Prof. Stephen Garoff




Dynamic wetting is the displacement of one fluid by another immiscible fluid across a solid surface as it spreads. Such processes control many natural phenomena and technological applications. The spreading dynamics of macroscopic fluid bodies are dictated by the hydrodynamics in a microscopic region near the moving contact line. Analytical models have been devleoped to describe the interface shape and velocity field near the contact line. Using videomicroscopy, particle image velocimetry, and digital image analysis, we make simultaneous measurements of the fluid/fluid interface shape and fluid flow field within the first few hundred microns near a moving contact line. Our experiments establish the validity and limitations of these analytical models. This work extensively tests assumptions embedded in the models and sets up bounds on the parameter space in which the models are valid. The models uccessfully describe the hydrodynamics near the contact line up to a capillary number ~0.10 but break down at higher capillary number. We determine the origins of this breakdown. We also carefully probe those regions near the contact line where the interface shape and flow field are independent of the macroscopic geometry. Our experimental technique provides a means of obtaining such material-dependent, geometry-independent information about the system. Such information serves as boundary conditions transferable among different macroscopic geometries. It is an essential ingredient for numerical calculations of the spreading dynamics. The work reported in this thesis sets the stage for predictive modeling of dynamic wetting.