Partial and complete wetting of droplets of active Brownian particles

Francesco Turci*, Robert Jack, Nigel B Wilding

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


We study wetting droplets formed of active Brownian particles in contact with a repulsive potential barrier, in a wedge geometry. Our numerical results demonstrate a transition between partially wet and completely wet states, as a function of the barrier height, analogous to the corresponding surface phase transition in passive fluids. We analyse partially wet configurations characterised by a nonzero contact angle θ between the droplet surface and the barrier, including the average density profile and its fluctuations. These findings are compared with two equilibrium systems: a Lennard-Jones fluid and a simple contour model for a liquid-vapour interface. We locate the wetting transition where cos(θ)=1, and the neutral state where cos(θ)=0. We discuss the implications of these results for possible definitions of surface tensions in active fluids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2060-2074
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number9
Early online date7 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024


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