Deformation hysteresis of a water nano-droplet in an electric field
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Electric field is an effective method to manipulate droplets in micro/nano-scale, and various physical phenomena have been found due to the interaction of electric field and fluid flow. In this study, we developed a molecular dynamic model to investigate the deforming behavior of a nano-droplet in a uniform electric field. The nano-droplet was initially confined between two plates and then wetted on the lower plate (i.e., substrate) until an equilibrium state, after that a uniform electric field in vertical direction was imposed to the system. Due to the electrical force, the droplet started to deform until achieving a new equilibrium state and the dynamic process is recorded. By comparing the equilibrium state under different electric field strength, we found a deformation hysteresis phenomenon, i.e., different deformations were obtained when increasing and decreasing the electric field. To be specific, a large electric field (E = 0.57 V ·nm^-1) is needed to stretch the nano-droplet to touch the upper plate, while a relatively lower field (E = 0.40 V ·nm^-1) is adequate to keep it contacting with the plate. Accompanied by the deformation hysteresis, a distribution hysteresis of the average dipole orientations of water molecules in the nano-droplet is also found. Such a hysteresis phenomenon is caused by the electrohydrodynamic interactions between droplet and plates, and the findings of this study could enhance our understanding of droplet deformation in an electric field.
KeywordsFlowing Matter: Interfacial phenomena
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