279524 Transient Reduction of the Drag Coefficient of Charged Droplets Via the Convective Reversal of Stagnant Caps

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 3:45 PM
406 (Convention Center )
Brad S. Hamlin and William D. Ristenpart, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of California Davis, Davis, CA

Droplets are frequently observed to move as if they were solid rather than liquid, i.e., with no slip at the liquid-liquid interface. This behavior is usually explained in terms of the so-called “stagnant cap” model, in which surfactants accumulate at the trailing edge of the droplet, immobilizing the surface and increasing the observed drag coefficient. Here, we show that the drag coefficient for charged droplets is temporarily reduced by reversing the direction of an electric driving force. Using high speed video, we simultaneously track the velocity and relative interfacial velocity of individual aqueous droplets moving electrophoretically through oil. The observed velocity behavior is highly sensitive to the concentration of surfactant. For sufficiently low or sufficiently high concentration, upon reversal of the electric field the droplet rapidly accelerates in the opposite direction but then decelerates, concurrent with a transient rearrangement of tracer particles on the droplet surface. In contrast, droplets with intermediate surfactant concentrations exhibit neither deceleration nor significant tracer particle rearrangement. We interpret the observations in terms of convectively dominated rearrangement of the stagnant cap, and we discuss the implications for precise electrophoretic control of droplet motion in lab-on-a-chip devices and industrial electrocoalescers.

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