Fluid adsorption at a non-planar wall: Roughness-induced first-order wetting

A O Parry, P S Swain, J A Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


We study the problem of fluid adsorption at a non-planar wall with a view to understanding the influence of surface roughness on the wetting transition. Starting from an appropriate Landau-type free-energy functional we develop a linear response theory relating the free energy of the non-planar system to the correlation functions in its planar counterpart. Using this approach we are able to generalize the well known graphical construction method used to study the planar surface phase diagram and derive analytical expressions for the shift in the phase boundary for first- and second-order wetting transitions. The results of the calculation are compared and contrasted with simple phenomenological and scaling arguments. Of particular interest is the influence of surface roughness on a second-order wetting transition which is driven first order, even for small deviations from the plane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L659-L666
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 1996

Cite this