International Journal of Thermophysics

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1743–1757 | Cite as

Dynamics of Drop Coalescence on a Surface: The Role of Initial Conditions and Surface Properties


An investigation of the coalescence of two water drops on a surface is presented and compared with drop spreading. The associated capillary numbers are very low (< 10−5). The drops relax exponentially towards equilibrium. The typical relaxation time tc decreases with contact angle. tc is proportional to the drop size R, thus defining a characteristic velocity U* = R/tc. The corresponding U* values are smaller by many orders of magnitude than the bulk hydrodynamic velocity (U = σ /η, with σ the gas–liquid surface tension and η the viscosity). The dynamics of receding (coalescence) and spreading motion is found to be of the same order when coalescence or spreading is induced by a syringe. The dynamics of coalescence induced with the syringe deposition is systematically faster by an order of magnitude than condensation-induced coalescence. This disparity is explained by the coupling of the contact line motion with the oscillation of the drop observed for syringe deposition but absent for condensation-induced coalescence.


capillary coalescence contact angle contact line velocity wetting 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESEME, SBT, CEA-GrenobleFrance
  2. 2.CEA-ESEME, ESPCI-PMMHParis Cedex 5France

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