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The Cheerios Effect of Floating Droplets
Speaker Prof. Anh Tuan Tran, Nanyang Technological University
Date 1 June 2018 (Friday)
Time 15:00 - 16:30
Venue Room 5506 (Lifts 25-26), HKUST

Droplets partially submersed in an immiscible liquid pool attract each other. We experimentally study the interaction of floating droplets containing aqueous solution of a volatile liquid. A droplet affects its neighbors by generating a vapor gradient to the surrounding and responds by evaporating asymmetrically over its exposed cap. We show that the induced asymmetric temperature distribution causes a surface tension gradient driving the droplet. We highlight that the attracting motion always consists of an accelerating and a decelerating stages. We finally provide a theoretical model that quantitatively captures the interactive forces between droplets and predicts essential features of the attracting motion.