Date of Original Version

7-2007

Type

Article

Published In

Phys. Rev. E 76, 011605 (2007)

Abstract or Table of Contents

When a fluid surface adheres to a substrate, the location of the contact line adjusts in order to minimize the overall energy. This implies boundary conditions which depend on the characteristic surface deformation energies. We develop a general geometrical framework within which these conditions can be derived in a completely systematic way. We treat both adhesion to a rigid substrate and adhesion between two fluid surfaces, and illustrate our general results for several important Hamiltonians involving both curvature and curvature gradients. Some of these have previously been studied using very different techniques. With the exception of capillary phenomena, the Hamiltonian will not only be sensitive to boundary translations, but may also respond to changes in slope and even in curvature. The functional form of the additional contributions will follow readily from our treatment. We will show that the boundary conditions describing adhesion between two fluid surfaces express the balance of stresses and torques, as one would expect. At a rigid substrate, however, this simple identification will generally fail. This is because local rotations of the surface normal will be entirely “enslaved” to translations on the substrate. As a consequence, stresses and torques enter a single balance condition and cannot be disentangled.

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