Elastocapillary bending of microfibers around liquid droplets
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We report on the elastocapillary deformation of flexible microfibers in contact with liquid droplets. A fiber is observed to bend more as the size of the contacting droplet is increased. At a critical droplet size, proportional to the bending elastocapillary length, the fiber is seen to spontaneously wind around the droplet. To rationalize these observations, we invoke a minimal model based on elastic beam theory, and find agreement with experimental data. Further energetic considerations provide a consistent prediction for the winding criterion.
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