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Solutal Marangoni flows of miscible liquids drive transport without surface contamination

Nature Physics volume 13, pages 11051110 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

Mixing and spreading of different liquids are omnipresent in nature, life and technology, such as oil pollution on the sea1,2, estuaries3, food processing4, cosmetic and beverage industries5,6, lab-on-a-chip devices7, and polymer processing8. However, the mixing and spreading mechanisms for miscible liquids remain poorly characterized. Here, we show that a fully soluble liquid drop deposited on a liquid surface remains as a static lens without immediately spreading and mixing, and simultaneously a Marangoni-driven convective flow is generated, which are counterintuitive results when two liquids have different surface tensions. To understand the dynamics, we develop a theoretical model to predict the finite spreading time and length scales, the Marangoni-driven convection flow speed, and the finite timescale to establish the quasi-steady state for the Marangoni flow. The fundamental understanding of this solutal Marangoni flow may enable driving bulk flows and constructing an effective drug delivery and surface cleaning approach without causing surface contamination by immiscible chemical species.

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Acknowledgements

H.K. thanks H.-Y. Kim for helpful discussions. O.S. thanks the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for a postdoctoral fellowship. K.M. thanks the Justus and Louise van Effen Research Grant from TU Delft and Dr. Hendrik Muller Foundation for a Visiting Student Research Collaborator (VSRC) programme in Princeton University. We thank J. Nunes, A. Perazzo and S. Suin for helpful discussions.

Author information

Author notes

    • Orest Shardt

    Present address: Bernal Institute and School of Engineering, University of Limerick, Castletroy, Limerick V94 T9PX, Ireland

Affiliations

  1. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA

    • Hyoungsoo Kim
    • , Orest Shardt
    •  & Howard A. Stone
  2. Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon 34141, South Korea

    • Hyoungsoo Kim
  3. Process and Energy, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CA Delft, the Netherlands

    • Koen Muller
  4. Department of Mathematical Sciences, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA

    • Shahriar Afkhami

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Contributions

H.K. conceived the project and planned the experiments. H.K. and K.M. built the experimental apparatus and carried out the experiments. H.K., O.S., S.A. and H.A.S. analysed the data and developed the theoretical analysis. H.K. wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors discussed and edited the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Hyoungsoo Kim or Howard A. Stone.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys4214

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