Droplets on soft substrates and membranes - Numerical simulation of soft wetting

  • Aland, Sebastian (TU Freiberg)
  • Mokbel, Dominic (TU Freiberg)
  • Mokbel, Marcel (TU Freiberg)

Please login to view abstract download link

Wetting of flexible substrates plays a major role in a broad variety of phenomena. The interaction between droplets and their surrounding is at small length scales dominated by surface tension forces. These forces may lead to significant deformation of the surrounding structure if either very soft or very thin (e.g. a biological membrane). In this talk, we present a computational model which is capable to shed some light on such elastocapillary phenomena. The model captures the interaction between two immiscible fluids and a soft structure or membrane. The numerical method is based on a combination of a phase-field model with a moving finite-element grid. In numerical tests we demonstrate that this novel method is robust, flexible and accurate. We confirm analytical theory of droplet surfing on Kelvin-Voigt substrates and find an explanation for the experimentally observed stick-slip phenomenon. Finally, we present first simulations of droplet-mediated membrane remodeling.