Dynamics of Microscale Liquid Propagation in Micropillar Arrays

Mohamed H. Alhosani, Tiejun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Understanding the dynamics of microscale liquid propagation in micropillar arrays can lead to significant enhancement in macroscopic propagation modeling. Such a phenomenon is fairly complicated, and a fundamental understanding is lacking. The aim here is to estimate three main parameters in liquid propagation, capillary pressure, average liquid height, and contact angle on the pillar side, through modeling and experimental validation. We show that the capillary pressure is not constant during liquid propagation, and the average capillary pressure is evaluated using its maximum and minimum values. The average liquid height influences the permeability of such a structure, which is challenging to determine as a result of the complicated three-dimensional (3D) meniscus shape. A simple physical model is provided in this paper to predict the average liquid height with less than 7% error. The contact angle on the micropillar side, which has considerable impact on the capillary pressure and the average liquid height, has been debated for a long time. We propose a model to predict this contact angle and validate it against experimental values in the literature. Our findings also indicate that the microscopic motion of the liquid front is significantly affected by the ratio of the pillar height to edge-to-edge spacing, and a correlation is provided for quantification. The proposed models are able to predict the droplet spreading dynamics and estimate spreading distance and time reasonably.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)6620-6629
Number of pages10
Issue number26
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2017


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