Controlling the Formation of Capillary Bridges in Binary Liquid Mixtures

Christoph Goegelein, Martin Brinkmann, Matthias Schroeter, Stephan Herminghaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


We study the formation of capillary bridges between micrometer-sized glass spheres immersed in a binary liquid mixture using bright field and confocal microscopy. The bridges form upon heating due to the preferential wetting of the hydrophilic glass surface by the water-rich phase. If the system is cooled below the demixing temperature, the bridges disappear within a few seconds by intermolecular diffusion. Thus, this system offers the opportunity to switch the bridges on and off and to tune precisely the bridge volume by altering the temperature in a convenient range. We measure the bridge geometry as a function of the temperature from bright field images and calculate the cohesive force. We discuss the influence of the solvent composition on the bridge formation temperature, the strength of the capillary force, and the bridge volume growth rate. Furthermore, we find that the onset of bridge formation coincides with the water−lutidine bulk coexistence curve.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17184-17189
Issue number22
Early online date15 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


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