Faulty Intuitions of Wetting
Theories of wetting have a long history and they are intensively used in interpreting experimental data. Nevertheless, many basic aspects, such as the pinning of a contact line and contact angle hysteresis, are still poorly understood. The development of a rigorous consensus theory has suffered from concepts that are based on faulty intuitions. These include the force interpretation of Young’s equation, the use of the principle of minimizing the global free energy, and the concepts of the work of adhesion and the mechanical surface tension on a solid. In this paper, the appropriate treatment of the basic ingredients of surface thermodynamics is discussed and the route towards the physically justified theoretical approach on wetting is outlined.
Keywords: Wetting, hydrophobicity, contact angle, contact angle hysteresis, surface energy, surface tension, surface thermodynamics