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Lateral capillary interaction between particles protruding from a spherical liquid layer

  • P. A. Kralchevsky (a1), V. N. Paunov (a1) and Kuniaki Nagayama (a2)

The lateral capillary interaction between two particles immersed in a spherical thin liquid film is investigated. The interfacial shape, the lateral capillary force and the interparticle energy are calculated by using the numerical solution of the linearized Laplace equation of capillarity. Orthogonal bipolar coordinates on a sphere (inducing biconical coordinates in space) are introduced as a helpful instrument for solving this problem and other problems of similar geometry. We consider two types of boundary conditions at the particle surfaces: fixed contact angle and fixed contact line. We established that for particles of fixed contact angle the capillary interaction energy depends monotonically on the interparticle distance whereas for particles of fixed contact line the interaction energy exhibits a maximum. The numerical results show that in both cases the capillary interaction is much larger than the thermal energy kT and can induce aggregation and ordering of submicrometre particles. These theoretical findings can be important for understanding the properties of Pickering emulsions (stabilized by particles) and liposomes or biomembranes containing incorporated membrane proteins.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
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