The Physics of Coffee Rings
63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics
Volume 55, Number 16
(Colorado School of Mines)
Microscopic particles suspended in a liquid are transported and deposited at a contact line, as the contact line recedes due to evaporation. A particle layer of uniform thickness is deposited if the particle concentration is above a threshold; below this threshold the deposit forms periodic bands oriented parallel to the contact line. We present a model for the formation of these bands based on evaporation leading to the breakup of the thin liquid film near the contact line. The threshold results from a competition between evaporation speed and deposition speed. Using this model, we predict the thickness and length of the bands, making the control of patterned deposition possible.
[My comments: The authors used glass particles in a liquid to mathematically model how rings form. They can make these predictions using parameters such as evaporation rate and surface tension of the liquid. Aside from just being interesting, this study may have some practical implications for working at small scales.
“Controlling the ring deposition process would be useful for creating such things as new microphysics tools operating at a scale where pliers or other traditional tools for moving particles cannot operate,” notes Mandre. (From Physorg.com)]