Dynamics of Droplet Motion under Electrowetting Actuation

S. Ravi Annapragada, Purdue University
Susmita Dash, Purdue University
Suresh V. Garimella, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University
Jayathi Y. Murthy, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University

Date of this Version



Langmuir, 2011, 27 (13), pp 8198–8204


The static shape of droplets under electrowetting actuation is well understood. The steady-state shape of the droplet is obtained on the basis of the balance of surface tension and electrowetting forces, and the change in the apparent contact angle is well characterized by the Young-Lippmann equation However, the transient droplet shape behavior when a voltage is suddenly applied across a droplet has received less attention. Additional dynamic frictional forces are at play during this transient process. We present a model to predict this transient behavior of the droplet shape under electrowetting actuation. The droplet shape is modeled using the volume of fluid method. The electrowetting and dynamic frictional forces are included as an effective dynamic contact angle through a force balance at the contact line. The model is used to predict the transient behavior of water droplets on smooth hydrophobic surfaces under electrowetting actuation. The predictions of the transient behavior of droplet shape and contact radius are in excellent agreement with our experimental measurements. The internal fluid motion is explained, and the droplet motion is shown to initiate from the contact line. An approximate mathematical model is also developed to understand the physics of the droplet motion and to describe the overall droplet motion and the contact line velocities.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology