Dr. Tak Shing Chan: Directional spreading of a viscous droplet on a conical fiber
Title: Directional spreading of a viscous droplet on a conical fiber
Abstract: If a droplet is placed on a substrate with a conical shape it spontaneously starts to spread in the direction of a growing fibre radius. We describe this capillary spreading dynamics by developing a lubrication approximation on a cone and by the perturbation method of matched asymptotic expansions. Our results show that the droplet appears to adopt a quasi-static shape and the predictions of the droplet shape and spreading velocity from the two mathematical models are in excellent agreement for a wide range of slip lengths, cone angles and equilibrium contact angles. At the contact line regions, a large pressure gradient is generated by the mismatch between the equilibrium contact angle and the apparent contact angle that maintains the viscous flow. It is the conical shape of the substrate that breaks the front/rear droplet symmetry in terms of the apparent contact angle, which is larger at the thicker part of the cone than that at its thinner part. Consequently, the droplet is predicted to move from the cone tip to its base, consistent with experimental observations.