[SOFTBITES] Mechanism of Contact between a Droplet and an Atomically Smooth Substrate

I had another article published on SoftBites! This one is about what happens when droplets are dropped on atomically flat surfaces, and how this experiment refined our understanding of fluid flow at interfaces. Plus, the videos are gorgeous!


Floating droplets shed new light on the flow of fluid at interfaces

Original article: Mechanism of Contact between a Droplet and an Atomically Smooth Substrate

When an experiment doesn’t behave the way we expect, either our understanding of the relevant physics is flawed, or the phenomenon is more complicated than it appears. When a theoretical prediction is off by two orders of magnitude – like what was observed in this recent paper by Hua Yung Lo, Yuan Liu, and Lei Xu of the Chinese University of Hong Kong – something is seriously wrong.

If Lo and colleagues drop a liquid droplet onto a smooth, flat surface, it will take on an equilibrium shape which depends on the properties of the liquid and solid materials at the interface (eg. water on Teflon will form a nearly perfect spherical drop while water on stainless steel will spread out, forming a spherical cap)…

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