Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 January 2013
The spreading of an incompressible viscous liquid over an isotropic homogeneous unsaturated porous substrate is considered. It is shown that, unlike the dynamic wetting of an impermeable solid substrate, where the dynamic contact angle has to be specified as a boundary condition in terms of the wetting velocity and other flow characteristics, the ‘effective’ dynamic contact angle on an unsaturated porous substrate is completely determined by the requirement of existence of a solution, i.e. the absence of a non-integrable singularity in the spreading fluid’s pressure at the ‘effective’ contact line. The obtained velocity dependence of the ‘effective’ contact angle determines the critical point at which a transition to a different flow regime takes place, where the fluid above the substrate stops spreading whereas the wetting front inside it continues to propagate.