Droplet actuation induced by coalescence: Experimental evidences and phenomenological modeling
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.
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