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wall energy relaxation in the Cahn-Hilliard model for moving contact lines
Yue, P. T.
Feng, J. J.
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The Cahn-Hilliard model uses diffusion between fluid components to regularize the stress singularity at a moving contact line. In addition, it represents the dynamics of the near-wall layer by the relaxation of a wall energy. The first part of the paper elucidates the role of the wall relaxation in a flowing system, with two main results. First, we show that wall energy relaxation produces a dynamic contact angle that deviates from the static one, and derive an analytical formula for the deviation. Second, we demonstrate that wall relaxation competes with Cahn-Hilliard diffusion in defining the apparent contact angle, the former tending to "rotate" the interface at the contact line while the latter to "bend" it in the bulk. Thus, varying the two in coordination may compensate each other to produce the same macroscopic solution that is insensitive to the microscopic dynamics of the contact line. The second part of the paper exploits this competition to develop a computational strategy for simulating realistic flows with microscopic slip length at a reduced cost. This consists in computing a moving contact line with a diffusion length larger than the real slip length, but using the wall relaxation to correct the solution to that corresponding to the small slip length. We derive an analytical criterion for the required amount of wall relaxation, and validate it by numerical results on dynamic wetting in capillary tubes and drop spreading. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3541806]