Phase-field modeling droplet dynamics with soluble surfactants

Haihu Liu, Yonghao Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using lattice Boltzmann approach, a phase-field model is proposed for simulating droplet motion with soluble surfactants. The model can recover the Langmuir and Frumkin adsorption isotherms in equilibrium. From the equilibrium equation of state, we can determine the interfacial tension lowering scale according to the interface surfactant concentration. The model is able to capture short-time and long-time adsorption dynamics of surfactants. We apply the model to examine the effect of soluble surfactants on droplet deformation, breakup and coalescence. The increase of surfactant concentration and attractive lateral interaction can enhance droplet deformation, promote droplet breakup, and inhibit droplet coalescence. We also demonstrate that the Marangoni stresses can reduce the interface mobility and slow down the film drainage process, thus acting as an additional repulsive force to prevent the droplet coalescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9166-9187
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Issue number24
Early online date31 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2010


  • phase field model
  • lattice boltzmann model
  • soluble surfactant
  • marangoni stress
  • Frumkin adsorption
  • droplet breakup
  • coalescence


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