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An investigation of the stable orientations of orthorhombic particles in a thin film and their effect on its critical failure pressure

Morris, G., Neethling, S.J., Cilliers, J.J.
Journal of colloid and interface science 2011 v.361 no.1 pp. 370-380
contact angle, films (materials), models, physicochemical properties
The effects of shape and contact angle on the behaviour of orthorhombic particles at an interface and in thin films were investigated using Surface Evolver[1]. It is shown that the energetically stable orientations of the particle change with its aspect ratio. Long, wide, flat particles with low contact angles are more stable in flat orientations, i.e. with two faces parallel to the flat film surface. More cubic particles with higher contact angles are more stable in twisted orientations, where the opposite sides of the film can be drawn together at the sharp edges of the particle. The combination of contact angle and orientation has been found to have a large effect on the capillary pressure required to rupture the film. A film containing a particle in a flat orientation will rupture at a capillary pressure up to three times greater than one containing an identical particle in a twisted orientation. Wider, flatter particles with low contact angles stabilise thin liquid films to a greater extent than cubic particles with high contact angles.