FLOW paper published in Science Advances

The paper 'Electrostatic cloaking of surface structure for dynamic wetting’ by Satoshi Nita, Minh Do-Quang, Jiayu Wang, Yu-Chung Chen, Yuji Suzuki, Gustav Amberg and Junichiro Shiomi has been published in prestigious Science Advances. The research is a collaboration between scientists from Linné FLOW Centre, University of Tokyo and Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Dynamic wetting problems are fundamental to understanding the interaction between liquids and solids. Even in a superficially simple experimental situation, such as a droplet spreading over a dry surface, the result may depend not only on the liquid properties but also strongly on the substrate-surface properties; even for macroscopically smooth surfaces, the microscopic geometrical roughness can be important. In addition, because surfaces may often be naturally charged or electric fields are used to manipulate fluids, electric effects are crucial components that influence wetting phenomena. We investigate the interplay between electric forces and surface structures in dynamic wetting. Although surface microstructures can significantly hinder spreading, we find that electrostatics can “cloak” the microstructures, that is, deactivate the hindering. We identify the physics in terms of reduction in contact-line friction, which makes the dynamic wetting inertial force dominant and insensitive to the substrate properties.