Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Things Get Wet: New Mathematical Formula Sets Wetting Theory Straight

Date:
April 9, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
The relationship between a thin liquid film or drop of liquid and the shape of the surface that it wets is explained with a new simplified mathematical formula. Understanding the precise interaction between liquids and surfaces is important for a number of areas, including the chemical industry and new nanotechnologies.

Drop of water. Understanding the precise interaction between liquids and surfaces is important for a number of areas, including the chemical industry and new nanotechnologies.
Credit: iStockphoto/Matthias Haas

The relationship between a thin liquid film or drop of liquid and the shape of the surface that it wets is explained with a new simplified mathematical formula published recently in Physical Review Letters.

Related Articles


Understanding the precise interaction between liquids and surfaces is important for a number of areas, including the chemical industry and new nanotechnologies.

A mathematical formula is used to explain how the relationship between the liquid and the surface changes as one wets the other. Previous formulas have all failed to explain what scientists found when they conducted experiments in this field, and have become increasingly complicated and technical.

Professor Andrew Parry from Imperial College London's Department of Mathematics, author of the new paper, has devised and tested a new way to explain this process. His formula takes into account fluctuations in the drop of liquid between the solid surface it sits on and the air above it, which have not been included in any previous formula.

"Previous descriptions have all ignored or misrepresented these interactions and consequently were at odds with experimental results and computer simulations. The new formulation appears to explain all these outstanding problems in a very elegant manner," said Professor Parry.

The study of wetting focuses on the process by which a liquid makes a surface completely wet, such as occurs if a glass of water is poured over a glass surface. However, liquids do not always make surfaces completely wet, and droplets can form on the surface, such as when water is poured on a waxy material.

Scientists know that if the temperature increases these droplets can gradually flatten out, until the surface is completely wet, and is an example of a phase transition. Exactly how this transition to complete wetting takes place has been contested by physicists for 25 years.

Wetting is of key importance in many applications ranging from oil recovery and the way pesticides are deposited on plant leaves, to inkjet printing.

Professor Parry has been working on this problem for four years, and this paper is the final one in a series of three publications addressing this problem. Previously he devised the new mathematical model and now in this most recent publication he has proven that it works.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "How Things Get Wet: New Mathematical Formula Sets Wetting Theory Straight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407092936.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, April 9). How Things Get Wet: New Mathematical Formula Sets Wetting Theory Straight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407092936.htm
Imperial College London. "How Things Get Wet: New Mathematical Formula Sets Wetting Theory Straight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407092936.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins