Antoine DeblaisKaili XiePeter Lewin-JonesDirk AartsMiguel A. HerradaJens EggersJames E. SprittlesDaniel Bonn
Antoine DeblaisKaili XiePeter Lewin-Jones
Despite the large body of research on coalescence, firm agreement between experiment, theory, and computation has not been established for the very earliest times following the initial contact of two liquid volumes. Combining a range of experimental and computational modelling approaches, we have been able to elucidate the influence of the intervening gas, of the van der Waals forces and of thermal fluctuations on coalescence. For simple liquids, the gas influences both pre- and post-contact regimes, with a jump-to-contact the primary mode of merging. Subsequently, wave-like air pockets are observed. For a system with ultralow interfacial tension, that mimics nanodrop behaviour, the very first moments are governed by thermal fluctuations at the interfaces, with a nontrivial opening speed given by stochastic thermally driven motion.