Marangoni circulation in evaporating droplets in the presence of soluble surfactants

R. T. van Gaalen, C. Diddens, H. M.A. Wijshoff, J.G.M. Kuerten (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Hypothesis: Soluble surfactants in evaporating sessile droplets can cause a circulatory Marangoni flow. However, it is not straightforward to predict for what cases this vortical flow arises. It is hypothesized that the occurrence of Marangoni circulation can be predicted from the values of a small number of dimensionless parameters. Simulations: A numerical model for the drop evolution is developed using lubrication theory. Surfactant transport is implemented by means of convection–diffusion-adsorption equations. Results are compared to literature. Findings: It is shown that stronger evaporation, slower adsorption kinetics and lower solubility of the surfactants all tend to increasingly suppress Marangoni circulation. These results are found to be consistent with both experimental and numerical results from literature and can explain qualitative differences in flow behavior of surfactant-laden droplets. Furthermore, diffusion also tends to counteract Marangoni flow, where bulk diffusion has a more significant influence than surface diffusion. Also, the formation of micelles is found to slightly suppress Marangoni circulation. Experimental results from literature, however, show that in some cases circulatory behavior is enhanced by micelles, possibly even resulting in qualitative changes in the flow. Potential explanations for these differences are given and extensions to the model are suggested to improve its consistency with experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-633
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2021


  • Droplets
  • Evaporation
  • Lubrication approximation
  • Marangoni flow
  • Soluble surfactants


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