Young's equation revisited

Lasse Makkonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    82 Citations (Scopus)


    Young's construction for a contact angle at a three-phase intersection forms the basis of all fields of science that involve wetting and capillary action. We find compelling evidence from recent experimental results on the deformation of a soft solid at the contact line, and displacement of an elastic wire immersed in a liquid, that Young's equation can only be interpreted by surface energies, and not as a balance of surface tensions. It follows that the a priori variable in finding equilibrium is not the position of the contact line, but the contact angle. This finding provides the explanation for the pinning of a contact line.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number135001
    JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • surface tension
    • surface energy
    • Young's equation
    • pinning
    • wetting


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