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Capillary driven flow along interior corners formed by planar walls of varying wettability


Closed-form analytic solutions useful for the design of capillary flows in a variety of containers possessing interior corners were recently collected and reviewed. Low-g drop tower and aircraft experiments performed at NASA to date show excellent agreement between theory and experiment for perfectly wetting fluids. The analytical expressions are general in terms of contact angle, but do not account for variations in contact angle between the various surfaces within the system. Such conditions may be desirable for capillary containment or to compute the behavior of capillary corner flows in containers consisting of different materials with widely varying wetting characteristics. A simple coordinate rotation is employed to recast the governing system of equations for flows in containers with interior corners with differing contact angles on the faces of the corner. The result is that a large number of capillary driven corner flows may be predicted with only slightly modified geometric functions dependent on corner angle and the two (or more) contact angles of the system. A numerical solution is employed to verify the new problem formulation. The benchmarked computations support the use of the existing theoretical approach to geometries with variable wettability. Simple experiments may be performed to confirm the theoretical findings. Favorable agreement between such experiments and the present theory may argue well for the extension of the analytic results to predict fluid performance in future large length scale capillary fluid systems for spacecraft as well as for small scale capillary systems on Earth.

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Weislogel, M.M., Nardin, C.L. Capillary driven flow along interior corners formed by planar walls of varying wettability. Microgravity Sci. Technol 17, 45 (2005).

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  • Contact Angle
  • Capillary Flow
  • Planar Wall
  • Vary Wettability
  • Rectangular Duct