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Adv Colloid Interface Sci. 2006 Nov 30;127(2):55-66. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

On the role of energy barriers in determining contact angle hysteresis.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.


The thermodynamic model of contact angles on rough, heterogeneous surfaces developed by Long et al. [J. Long, M.N. Hyder, R.Y.M. Huang and P. Chen, Adv. Colloid Interface Sci. 118 (2005) 173] was employed to study the role of energy barriers in determining contact angle hysteresis. Major energy barriers corresponding to metastable states and minor energy barriers corresponding to secondary metastable states were defined. Distributions of major and/or minor energy barriers as a function of apparent contact angle for various surfaces were obtained. The reproducibility of contact angle measurement, the effect of vibrational energy on contact angle hysteresis and the "stick-slip" phenomenon were discussed. Quantitative relations between contact angles and vibrational energy were obtained. It was found that receding contact angles are normally poorly reproducible for hydrophilic surfaces, but for extremely hydrophobic surfaces, advancing contact angles may have a poor reproducibility. When the vibrational energy available to a system increases, the measured advancing contact angle will decrease while the receding angle will increase until both reach a common value: the system equilibrium angle. This finding not only agrees well with the experimental observations in system equilibrium contact angle measurements, but also lays a theoretical foundation for such measurements. A small vibrational energy may result in a "stick-slip" phenomenon.

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