1932

Abstract

Although negligible at large scales, capillary forces may become dominant for submillimetric objects. Surface tension is usually associated with the spherical shape of small droplets and bubbles, wetting phenomena, imbibition, or the motion of insects at the surface of water. However, beyond liquid interfaces, capillary forces can also deform solid bodies in their bulk, as observed in recent experiments with very soft gels. Capillary interactions, which are responsible for the cohesion of sandcastles, can also bend slender structures and induce the bundling of arrays of fibers. Thin sheets can spontaneously wrap liquid droplets within the limit of the constraints dictated by differential geometry. This review aims to describe the different scaling parameters and characteristic lengths involved in elastocapillarity. We focus on three main configurations, each characterized by a specific dimension: three-dimensional (3D), deformations induced in bulk solids; 1D, bending and bundling of rod-like structures; and 2D, bending and stretching of thin sheets. Although each configuration deserves a detailed review, we hope our broad description provides a general view of elastocapillarity.

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2018-01-05
2024-06-18
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