Seminar Announcement, 03/21/2017
Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 03/21/2017
Tuesday, 03/21/2017
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Gerald Fuller
Stanford University
Department of Chemical Engineering

"The Fluid Dynamics of Ultra-low Surface Tension Liquids"


Multiphase flows involving liquids pairs with ultra-low surface tensions are common in processing flows and in living systems. For example, simple mixing operations that bring miscible liquids together cause mobile interfaces with vanishingly small surface tensions to be strongly deformed due to the presence of strong Capillary and Bond numbers. Water-water emulsions comprised of phase separated domains of aqueous solutions of distinct polymers have acquired increased attention as routes to design chemical delivery systems in medical and personal product applications. In living systems, complex coacervates and membrane-less organelles are characterized by very low surface tensions that control their stability, spreading, and wettability.

The work described here will focus on two classes of problems: sessile and pendant drops of liquids existing within miscible environments and water-water, phase separated drops undergoing buoyancy-driven flows. In both cases, simple visualization experiments demonstrate that these systems spread and disperse in ways that are qualitatively different from immiscible pairs. For example, miscible sessile drops spread across substrates with much stronger power law responses in time and “skim” across the surfaces instead of advancing behind a moving contact line. These unanticipated and distinct behaviors are expected to profoundly influence momentum and mass transport in this commonly encountered class of liquid processing flows.


Gerald Fuller is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. He joined Stanford in 1980 following his graduate work at Caltech where he acquire his MS and PhD degrees. His undergraduate education was obtained at the University of Calgary, Canada. Professor Fuller's interests lie in studies of rheology and interfacial fluid mechanics. His work has been recognized by receipt of the Bingham Medal of The Society of Rheology, membership in the National Academy of Engineering, election to the American Academy of Arts and Science, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Crete, Greece, and Leuven, Belgium.

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