Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy

, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 2158–2166

A new look on wetting models: continuum analysis


    • School of Pipeline and Civil EngineeringChina University of Petroleum
  • Re Xia
    • School of Power and Mechanical EngineeringWuhan University
  • XiaoHua Zhou
    • Department of Mathematics and PhysicsFourth Military Medical University

DOI: 10.1007/s11433-012-4895-2

Cite this article as:
Liu, J., Xia, R. & Zhou, X. Sci. China Phys. Mech. Astron. (2012) 55: 2158. doi:10.1007/s11433-012-4895-2


In this study, we considered the wetting phenomenon on a general substrate from a new viewpoint of continuum mechanics. The analyses first show how the Wenzel and the Cassie models deviate the practical results in some special substrates, and then elucidate the mechanism of the triple contact line (TCL) moving. Based upon variational theory of the total free functional dealing with the movable boundary condition, we show that the macroscopic contact angle (MCA) expression is the corresponding transversality condition. It manifests that the MCA depends only on the chemical and geometric property at the TCL, and is not affected by the gravity of the droplet and the contact area beneath the liquid. Our continuum model also shows the exploration of the pinning effect on a sharp wedge or the interface between two different phases. This investigation will help designing super-hydrophobic materials for novel micro-fluidic devices.


continuum fieldenergy functionaltransversality conditionmechanism-based modeltriple line moving
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© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012