Capillary condensation of saturated vapor in a corner formed by two intersecting walls
The dynamics of saturated vapor between two intersecting walls is examined. It is shown that, if the angle / between the walls is sufficiently small, the vapor becomes unstable, and spontaneous condensation occurs in the corner, similar to the so-called capillary condensation of vapor into a porous medium. As a result, an ever-growing liquid meniscus develops near the corner. The diffuse-interface model and the lubrication approximation are used to demonstrate that the meniscus grows if and only if / þ 2h < p, where h is the contact angle corresponding to the fluid/solid combination under consideration. This criterion has a simple physical explanation: if it holds, the meniscus sur?face is concave—hence, the Kelvin effect causes condensation. Once the thickness of the condensate exceeds by an order of magnitude the characteristic interfacial thickness, the volume of the meniscus starts to grow linearly with time. If the near-vertex region of the corner is smoothed, the instability can be triggered off only by finite-size perturbations, such that it includes enough liquid to cover the smoothed area by a microscopically thin liquid film.
PublicationPhysics of Fluids 34, 062103
Department or School
- Mathematics & Statistics