Controlling the breakup of toroidal liquid films on solid surfaces

Edwards, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3338-1287, Ruiz-Gutierrez, E., Newton, M. ORCID: 0000-0003-4231-1002, McHale, G., Wells, G., Ledesma-Aguilar, R. and Brown, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1559-3238, 2021. Controlling the breakup of toroidal liquid films on solid surfaces. Scientific Reports, 11: 8120. ISSN 2045-2322

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The breakup of a slender filament of liquid driven by surface tension is a classical fluid dynamics stability problem that is important in many situations where fine droplets are required. When the filament is resting on a flat solid surface which imposes wetting conditions the subtle interplay with the fluid dynamics makes the instability pathways and mode selection difficult to predict. Here, we show how controlling the static and dynamic wetting of a surface can lead to repeatable switching between a toroidal film of an electrically insulating liquid and patterns of droplets of well-defined dimensions confined to a ring geometry. Mode selection between instability pathways to these different final states is achieved by dielectrophoresis forces selectively polarising the dipoles at the solid-liquid interface and so changing both the mobility of the contact line and the partial wetting of the topologically distinct liquid domains. Our results provide insights into the wetting and stability of shaped liquid filaments in simple and complex geometries relevant to applications ranging from printing to digital microfluidic devices.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Creators: Edwards, A., Ruiz-Gutierrez, E., Newton, M., McHale, G., Wells, G., Ledesma-Aguilar, R. and Brown, C.
Publisher: Nature Research
Date: 14 April 2021
Volume: 11
ISSN: 2045-2322
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Apr 2021 10:53
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2021 13:23

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