A partially wetting film of water and surfactant under the influence of a propagating MHz surface acoustic wave

Research paper by Gennady Altshuler, Ofer Manor

Indexed on: 06 Jan '16Published on: 06 Jan '16Published in: Physics - Fluid Dynamics


We use both theory and experiment to study the response of {\it partially wetting} films of water and surfactant solutions to a propagating MHz vibration in the solid substrate in the form of a Rayleigh surface acoustic wave (SAW). The SAW invokes a drift of mass in the liquid film, which is associated with the Schlichting boundary layer flow (also known as the Schlichting streaming). We study thin films that are governed by a balance between the drift and capillary stress alone. We demonstrate weak capillary contributions, such as for silicon oil films, support dynamic wetting and lead to the spreading of the liquid over the solid substrate along the path of the SAW. Strong capillary contributions, such as for water films, support however a concurrent dynamic wetting and dewetting along the path of the SAW, such that the film displace along the solid substrate. In addition, such films may support the formation of a capillary train-wave that propagate along the the same path. We further note the mechanism for film dynamics we discuss here is different to the more familiar Eckart streaming mechanism, which is associated with a film thickness that is greater than the wavelength of the sound leakage off the SAW and usually observed to support the motion of drops. The thickness of the films we discuss here is small in respect to the wavelength of the sound leakage, rendering contributions from the Eckart streaming, acoustic radiation pressure, and the attenuation of the SAW small.