Pressure-driven motion of surfactant-laden drops through cylindrical capillaries: Effect of surfactant solubility

Robert A. Johnson, Ali Borhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The effect of bulk-soluble surfactants on the dynamics of a drop translating through a cylindrical tube under low-Reynolds-number conditions is investigated. Interfacial surfactant adsorption/desorption is modeled according to the Frumkin adsorption framework, and the bulk-insoluble surfactant limit is recovered as the rate of surfactant sorption becomes large compared to that of bulk diffusion. As the equilibrium surface coverage is increased, the mechanism by which drop mobility is reduced changes from uniform retardation at low surface coverage to the formation of a stagnant cap at high surface coverage. For large capillary numbers, the drop does not achieve a steady shape, and eventually it breaks up either through the formation of a penetrating viscous jet of suspending fluid, or by continuous elongation and pinch-off. Surfactants have a destabilizing effect on transient drop shapes by accelerating the formation and development of the penetrating viscous jet that leads to drop breakup. The critical conditions for drop breakup, as well as the mode of breakup, depend on the manner in which the strength of the flow (i.e., the capillary number) is increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-541
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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