Rupture of nanoscaled water sheets in the presence of an applied electric field

N Gopan, FLUID DYNAMICS RESEARCH, 48, 061426 (2016).

DOI: 10.1088/0169-5983/48/6/061426

Understanding the behaviour of water sheets is relevant in numerous areas, such as thin film coating and atomisation. The rupture of planar liquid sheets are interesting due to the fact that they are objects of co-dimension 1. Previous work seems to suggest that a generic route to liquid structure fragmentation is via liquid sheets. The interplay between inertia, surface tension and viscosity is crucial in determining the dynamics of liquid sheets at a macro scale. At the nanoscale, where thermal fluctuations are expected to play a dominant role, the dynamics become more interesting. The stability and rupture dynamics of nanoscaled water sheets, at constant temperature, are studied using constrained molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The SPC/E potential with long range electrostatics is used to simulate water molecules. The effect of an applied electric field on the stability of the nanoscaled water sheet forms the focus of this study. The effect of the initial configuration is studied by changing the random seed values used for velocity initialisation. The effect of sheet thickness on the rupture dynamics is also explored. It is seen that when large electric fields (5 V/nm) act across very thin sheets (1 layer), then breakup into multiple ellipsoidal structures is a possibility, and the response of the fluid structure to the applied electric field is non-linear. Furthermore, it is seen that Taylor' s predictions for the critical electric field intensity, based on classical electro-hydrodynamics for the onset of instability in macroscopic drops, scales surprisingly well for the case of nanoscaled sheets.

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