Stability of Surface Nanobubbles without Contact Line Pinning

ZJ Guo and X Wang and XR Zhang, LANGMUIR, 35, 8482-8489 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b00772

Although the stability of most surface nanobubbles observed can be well interpreted by contact line pinning and supersaturation theory, there is increasing evidence that at least for certain situations, contact line pinning is not required for nanobubble stability. This raises a significant question of what is the stability mechanism for those sessile nanobubbles. Through theoretical analysis and molecular dynamics simulations, in this work, we report two mechanisms for stabilizing surface nanobubbles on flat and homogeneous substrates. One is attributed to constant adsorption of trace impurities on the nanobubble gas liquid interface, through which nanobubble growing or shrinking causes the increase and decrease of interfacial tension, acting as a restoring force to bring the nanobubble to its equilibrium size. The other is attributed to the deformation of a soft substrate induced by the formed nanobubble, which in turn stabilizes the nanobubble via impeding the contact line motion, similar to self-pinning of microdroplets on soft substrates. Both mechanisms can interpret, depending on the specified conditions, how surface nanobubbles can remain stable in the absence of contact line pinning.

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