Direct visualization of particle attachment to a pendant drop

C. Li, J. A. Simmons, M. Moradiafrapoli, J. O. Marston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An experimental investigation is carried out into the attachment of a single particle to a liquid drop. High-speed videography is used to directly visualize the so-called 'snap-in' effect which occurs rapidly over sub-millisecond timescales. Using high-magnification, the evolution of the contact line around the particle is tracked and dynamic features such as the contact angle, wetted radius and force are extracted from these images to help build a fundamental understanding of the process. By examining the wetted length in terms of an arc angle, φ, it is shown that the early wetting stage is an inertial-dominated process and best described by a power law relation, i.e. φ ∼ (t/τ)α, where τ is an inertial timescale. For the subsequent lift-off stage, the initial particle displacement is matched with that predicted using a simple balance between particle weight and capillary force with reasonable agreement. The lift-off force is shown to be on the order of 1-100 μN, whilst the force of impacting droplets is known to be on the order of 10-1000 mN. This explains the ease in which liquid marbles are formed during impact experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1454
Number of pages11
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017


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