When a particle is placed in a thin liquid film on a planar substrate, the liquid either climbs or descends the particle surface to satisfy its wetting boundary condition. Analytical solutions for the film shape, the degree of particle immersion, and the downward force exerted by the wetting meniscus on the particle are presented in the limit of small Bond number. When line tension is significant, multiple solutions for the equilibrium meniscus position emerge. When the substrate is unyielding, a dewetting transition is predicted; that is, it is energetically favorable for the particle to rest on top of the film rather than remain immersed in it. If the substrate can bend, the energy to drive this bending is found in the limits of slow or rapid solid deflection. These results are significant in a wide array of disciplines, including controlled delivery of drugs to pulmonary airways, the probing of liquid film/particle interface properties using particles affixed to AFM tips and the positioning of small particles in thin films to create patterned media.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry