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Title: Spreading of aqueous droplets with common and superspreading surfactants. A molecular dynamics study
Authors: Theodorakis, PE
Smith, ER
Müller, EA
Keywords: molecular dynamics simulation;surfactants;water droplets;spreading;coarse-grained models;statistical associating fluid theory;superspreading
Issue Date: 18-Aug-2019
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Theodorakis, P.E., Smith, E.R. and Müller, E.A. (2019) 'Spreading of aqueous droplets with common and superspreading surfactants. A molecular dynamics study', Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 581, 123810, pp. 1 - 9. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2019.123810.
Abstract: The surfactant-driven spreading of droplets is an essential process in many applications ranging from coating flow technology to enhanced oil recovery. Despite the significant advancement in describing spreading processes in surfactant-laden droplets, including the exciting phenomena of superspreading, many features of the underlying mechanisms require further understanding. Here, we have carried out molecular dynamics simulations of a coarse-grained model with a force-field obtained from the statistical associating fluid theory to study droplets laden with common and superspreading surfactants. We have confirmed the important elements of the superspreading mechanism, i.e. the adsorption of surfactant at the contact line and the fast replenishment of surfactant from the bulk. Through a detailed comparison of a range of droplets with different surfactants, our analysis has indicated that the ability of surfactant to adsorb at the interfaces is the key feature of the superspreading mechanism. To this end, surfactants that tend to form aggregates and have a strong hydrophobic attraction in the aggregated cores prevent the fast replenishment of the interfaces, resulting in reduced spreading ability. We also show that various surfactant properties, such as diffusion and architecture, play a secondary role in the spreading process. Moreover, we discuss various drop properties such as the height, contact angle, and surfactant surface concentration, highlighting differences between superspreading and common surfactants. We anticipate that our study will provide further insight for applications requiring the control of wetting.
Description: arXiv:1909.00775 [physics.flu-dyn] preprint [v1] Mon, 2 Sep 2019 15:55:46 UTC (8,139 KB) submitted to Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 581, 123810 (2019) DOI:
ISSN: 0927-7757
Other Identifiers: ORCID iDs: Panagiotis E. Theodorakis; Edward R. Smith; Erich A. Müller
Appears in Collections:Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Research Papers

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