The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 219, Issue 1, pp 131–141 | Cite as

Droplet actuation induced by coalescence: Experimental evidences and phenomenological modeling

  • Mathieu Sellier
  • Volker Nock
  • Cécile Gaubert
  • Claude Verdier
Regular Article


This paper considers the interaction between two droplets placed on a substrate in immediate vicinity. We show here that when the two droplets are of different fluids and especially when one of the droplet is highly volatile, a wealth of fascinating phenomena can be observed. In particular, the interaction may result in the actuation of the droplet system, i.e. its displacement over a finite length. In order to control this displacement, we consider droplets confined on a hydrophilic stripe created by plasma-treating a PDMS substrate. This controlled actuation opens up unexplored opportunities in the field of microfluidics. In order to explain the observed actuation phenomenon, we propose a simple phenomenological model based on Newton’s second law and a simple balance between the driving force arising from surface energy gradients and the viscous resistive force. This simple model is able to reproduce qualitatively and quantitatively the observed droplet dynamics.


PDMS Water Droplet European Physical Journal Special Topic Contact Line Droplet Velocity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Sellier
    • 1
  • Volker Nock
    • 2
  • Cécile Gaubert
    • 3
  • Claude Verdier
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.École Normale SupérieureCachanFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique, CNRS and Université Grenoble ISaint-Martin-d’HèresFrance

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