Stages That Lead to Drop Depinning and Onset of Motion

Akash K. Jena, Yagna Valkya Reddy Bhimavarapu, Sirui Tang, Jie Liu, Ratul Das, Semih Gulec, Appu Vinod, Chun Wei Yao, Tianxing Cai, Rafael Tadmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this paper, we consider drops that are subjected to a gradually increasing lateral force and follow the stages of the motion of the drops. We show that the first time a drop slides as a whole is when the receding edge of the drop is pulled by the advancing edge (the advancing edge drags the receding edge). The generality of this phenomenon includes sessile and pendant drops and spans over various chemically and topographically different cases. Because this observation is true for both pendant and sessile cases, we exclude hydrostatic pressure as its reason. Instead, we explain it in terms of the wetting adaptation and interfacial modulus, that is, the difference in the energies of the solid interface at the advancing and receding edges. At the receding edge, a slight motion exposes to the air a recently wetted solid surface whose molecules had reoriented to the liquid and will take time to reorient back to the air. This results in a high surface energy at the solid-air interface which pulls on the triple line, that is, inhibits the motion of the receding edge. On the other hand, at the advancing edge, a slight advancement does not change the nature of the solid interfacial molecules outside the drop, and the advancing side's sliding can continue. Moreover, the solid molecules under the drop at the advancing edge take time to reorient, and hence, their configuration is not yet adapted for the liquid and therefore not adapted for retention of the advancing edge. Therefore, in sliding-drop experiments, the advancing edge moves before the receding one, typically a few times before the receding edge moves. For the same reason, the last motion of the receding edge usually happens as a result of the advancing edge pulling on it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Spectroscopy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry


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