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Effect of surfactant on motion and deformation of compound droplets in arbitrary unbounded Stokes flows

  • Shubhadeep Mandal (a1), Uddipta Ghosh (a1) and Suman Chakraborty (a1)


This study deals with the motion and deformation of a compound drop system, subject to arbitrary but Stokesian far-field flow conditions, in the presence of bulk-insoluble surfactants. We derive solutions for fluid velocities and the resulting surfactant concentrations, assuming the capillary number and surface Péclet number to be small, as compared with unity. We first focus on a concentric drop configuration and apply Lamb’s general solution, assuming the far-field flow to be arbitrary in nature. As representative case studies, we consider two cases: (i) flow dynamics in linear flows and (ii) flow dynamics in a Poiseuille flow, although for the latter case, the concentric configuration does not remain valid in general. We further look into the effective viscosity of a dilute suspension of compound drops, subject to linear ambient flow, and compare our predictions with previously reported experiments. Subsequently, the eccentric drop configuration is addressed by using a bipolar coordinate system where the far-field flow is assumed to be axisymmetric but otherwise arbitrary in nature. As a specific example for eccentric drop dynamics, we focus on Poiseuille flow and study the drop migration velocities. Our analysis shows that the presence of surfactant generally opposes the imposed flows, thereby acting like an effective augmented viscosity. Our analysis reveals that maximizing the effects of surfactant makes the drops behave like solid particles suspended in a medium. However, in uniaxial extensional flow, the presence of surfactants on the inner drop, in conjunction with the drop radius ratio, leads to a host of interesting and non-monotonic behaviours for the interface deformation. For eccentric drops, the effect of eccentricity only becomes noticeable after it surpasses a certain critical value, and becomes most prominent when the two interfaces approach each other. We further depict that surfactant and eccentricity generally tend to suppress each other’s effects on the droplet migration velocities.


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