Deformation of a nearly-hemispherical conducting drop due to an electric field: theory and experiment

Lindsey T. Corson, Costas Tsakonas, Brian R. Duffy, Nigel J. Mottram, Ian C. Sage, Carl V. Brown, Stephen K. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
270 Downloads (Pure)


We consider, both theoretically and experimentally, the deformation due to an electric field of a pinned nearly-hemispherical static sessile drop of an ionic fluid with a high conductivity resting on the lower substrate of a parallel-plate capacitor. Using both numerical and asymptotic approaches we find solutions to the coupled electrostatic and augmented Young–Laplace equations which agree very well with the experimental results. Our asymptotic solution for the drop interface extends previous work in two ways, namely to drops that have zero-field contact angles that are not exactly π/2 and to higher order in the applied electric field, and provides useful predictive equations for the changes in the height, contact angle and pressure as functions of the zero-field contact angle, drop radius, surface tension and applied electric field. The asymptotic solution requires some numerical computations, and so a surprisingly accurate approximate analytical asymptotic solution is also obtained.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122106
Number of pages20
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2014


  • conducting drop
  • electrical field
  • Young–Laplace equations


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