Efficient and accurate numerical simulation of dynamic wetting of flexible structures
PI: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Aland, Fakultät Mathematik und Informatik, TU Freiberg
Wetting of elastic substrates (i.e. soft wetting) plays a major role in a broad variety of phenomena in nature and technology. In the previous funding period we have developed one of the first numerical frameworks for robust simulation of soft wetting. We now aim to not only use this method to analyze accessible soft wetting phenomena, but to extend the methodology in two directions, which have remained completely unexplored so far. Firstly, we will develop a numerical method to account for an accurate dissipation mechanism at the contact line by including slip and dynamic contact angles. This will result in the first description of elastocapillarity providing realistic dynamics at the microscale. Secondly, we will extend the methodology to thin elastic structures, which are actually involved in the majority of soft wetting phenomena. Representing thin structures by dimensionally reduced (hyper-)surfaces will solve the associated resolution problems.The resulting multiscale model will permit for the first time to simulate soft wetting phenomena at membranes, thin sheets, microstructured surfaces, hair and other thin objects. The numerical models are applied to investigate three exciting phenomena that have been discovered in experiments: (i) the intense interplay of wetting and shape dynamics of biomembranes, (ii) the wetting dynamics at elastic structured surfaces, and (iii) the influence of an adaptive lubrication drop on the contact line motion on oil-absorbing substrates. All these points are addressed in collaboration with experimental and theoretical projects within the SPP to finally establish a deeper understanding of the fundamental physics behind the dynamic wetting of elastic substrates.