Effects of nanoparticles and surfactant on droplets in shear flow

S.C.J. Frijters, F.S. Günther, J.D.R. Harting

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)
    220 Downloads (Pure)


    We present three-dimensional numerical simulations, employing the well-established lattice Boltzmann method, and investigate similarities and differences between surfactants and nanoparticles as additives at a fluid–fluid interface. We report on their respective effects on the surface tension of such an interface. Next, we subject a fluid droplet to shear and explore the deformation properties of the droplet, its inclination angle relative to the shear flow, the dynamics of the particles at the interface, and the possibility of breakup. Particles are seen not to affect the surface tension of the interface, although they do change the overall interfacial free energy. The particles do not remain homogeneously distributed over the interface, but form clusters in preferred regions that are stable for as long as the shear is applied. However, although the overall structure remains stable, individual nanoparticles roam the droplet interface, with a frequency of revolution that is highest in the middle of the droplet interface, normal to the shear flow, and increases with capillary number. We recover Taylor's law for small deformation of droplets when surfactant or particles are added to the droplet interface. The effect of surfactant is captured in the capillary number, but the inertia of adsorbed massive particles increases deformation at higher capillary number and eventually leads to easier breakup of the droplet.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6542-6556
    JournalSoft Matter
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of nanoparticles and surfactant on droplets in shear flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this