SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Amir Rostami
TIME: Monday, January 25, 2016, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: MRDC Building, 3515
TITLE: Capillary-Driven Flow between Contacting Rough Surfaces
COMMITTEE: Dr. Jeffery L. Streator, Chair (ME)
Dr. Scott Bair (ME)
Dr. Itzhak Green (ME)
Dr. Robert L. Jackson (ME)
Dr. Michael Varenberg (ME)


Intermolecular forces become dominant in small scales due to the small spacing present and high surface area to volume ratio. Liquid-mediated adhesion is one of the intermolecular forces happens when a liquid film is present between two solid surfaces due to capillary effects. Familiar examples in nature include: plants and trees, which transport fluid from roots to leaves in opposition of gravity through xylem conduits; and soils whose strength characteristics depend on the way water interacts between solid particles. Among engineered systems, there are several small scale devices such as nano/micro-electro-mechanical devices (NEMS/MEMS), magnetic storage head/disk interface (HDI), the tip of atomic force microscope (AFM) for which liquids are present in confined regions during fabrication or during operation. The liquid film could be present in these devices due to condensation (humid environment), contamination, or lubrication. In many cases, capillary effect causes excessive adhesive forces and device failure. On the positive side, in the operation of nanofluidic devices, capillary forces operating in submicron channels are used to pump liquids from one location to another. In the contacting surfaces, the wetting liquid film located in small spacing causes large concave curvatures at the interface, which in turn, causes large pressure drops within the liquid film. The pressure drop can be obtained using the famous Laplace-Young relation. This negative pressure drop induces tensile stresses between the contacting surfaces, which tend to reduce the spacing between the surfaces. Opposing these tensile stresses, are the compressive stresses developed at solid-solid contact spots. A study of the interaction between liquid films and elastically deforming solid surfaces in contact is performed through both theory and experiment.