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Controlling the breakup of toroidal liquid films on solid surfaces

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Elfego Ruiz GutierrezORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The breakup of a slender filament of liquid driven by surface tension is a classical fluid dynamics stability problem that is important in many situations where fine droplets are required. When the filament is resting on a flat solid surface which imposes wetting conditions the subtle interplay with the fluid dynamics makes the instability pathways and mode selection difficult to predict. Here, we show how controlling the static and dynamic wetting of a surface can lead to repeatable switching between a toroidal film of an electrically insulating liquid and patterns of droplets of well-defined dimensions confined to a ring geometry. Mode selection between instability pathways to these different final states is achieved by dielectrophoresis forces selectively polarising the dipoles at the solid-liquid interface and so changing both the mobility of the contact line and the partial wetting of the topologically distinct liquid domains. Our results provide insights into the wetting and stability of shaped liquid filaments in simple and complex geometries relevant to applications ranging from printing to digital microfluidic devices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Edwards AMJ, Ruiz-Gutiérrez É, Newton MI, McHale G, Wells GG, Ledesma-Aguilar R, Brown CV

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 14/04/2021

Online publication date: 14/04/2021

Acceptance date: 26/03/2021

Date deposited: 01/12/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-87549-5


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