Contact Angle and Adhesion Dynamics and Hysteresis on Molecularly Smooth Chemically Homogeneous Surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • Measuring truly equilibrium adhesion energies or contact angles to obtain the thermodynamic values is experimentally difficult because it requires loading/unloading or advancing/receding boundaries to be measured at rates that can be slower than 1 nm/s. We have measured advancing–receding contact angles and loading–unloading adhesion energies for various systems and geometries involving molecularly smooth and chemically homogeneous surfaces moving at different but steady velocities in both directions, ±V, focusing on the thermodynamic limit of ±V → 0. We have used the Bell Theory (1978) to derive expressions for the dynamic (velocity-dependent) adhesion energies and contact angles suitable for both (i) dynamic adhesion measurements using the classic Johnson–Kendall–Roberts (JKR, 1971) theory of “contact mechanics” and (ii) dynamic contact angle hysteresis measurements of both rolling droplets and syringe-controlled (sessile) droplets on various surfaces. We present our results for systems that exhibited both steady and varying velocities from V ≈ 10 mm/s to 1 nm/s, where in all cases but one, the advancing (V > 0) and receding (V < 0) adhesion energies and/or contact angles converged toward the same theoretical (thermodynamic) values as V → 0. Our equations for the dynamic contact angles are similar to the classic equations of Blake & Haynes (1969) and fitted the experimental adhesion data equally well over the range of velocities studied, although with somewhat different fitting parameters for the characteristic molecular length/dimension or area and characteristic bond formation/rupture lifetime or velocity. Our theoretical and experimental methods and results unify previous kinetic theories of adhesion and contact angle hysteresis and offer new experimental methods for testing kinetic models in the thermodynamic, quasi-static, limit. Our analyses are limited to kinetic effects only, and we conclude that hydrodynamic, i.e., viscous, and inertial effects do not play a role at the interfacial velocities of our experiments, i.e., V < (1–10) mm/s (for water and hexadecane, but for viscous polymers it may be different), consistent with previously reported studies.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017