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Superspreading without surfactants: Dielectrowetting

When a droplet is put on a surface it spreads out, but how fast does it spread and how far can it spread?

A droplet of oil induced to wet a non-wetting substrate by an applied voltage.

Our experiments use a non-uniform electric field to create a force on the dipoles of a dielectric liquid.For droplets this forces them to set surfaces what we call "dielectrowetting". This allows a voltage to be used to "dial up" the final state of a droplet. This can be a droplet, just sufficient to create a film or more than that needed to create a film. One does not need to wait for a film to form - the difference can be seen in how fast a droplet spreads.


G. McHale, C.V. Brown, M.I. Newton, G.G. Wells and N. Sampara,
Dielectrowetting driven spreading of droplets,
Physical Review Letters 107 (18) (2011) art. 186101. View postprint pdf

C.V. Brown, G. McHale and N. Sampara,
Voltage induced superspreading,
Nature Communications 4 (2013) art. 1605. View abstract
(For copy contact glen.mchale@northumbria.ac.uk)