J.S. Wettlaufer: The Power of Film
The pandemic has had a deleterious influence on the Hollywood film industry. Fortunately, however, the thin film industry continues to flourish. A host of effects are responsible for confined liquids exhibiting properties that differ from their bulk counterparts. For example, the dominant polarization and surface forces across a layered system can control the material behavior on length scales vastly larger than the film thickness. This basic class of phenomena, wherein volume-volume interactions create large pressures, are at play in, amongst many other settings, wetting, biomaterials, ceramics, colloids, and tribology. When the films so created involve phase change, the forces can be so large that they destroy the setting that allowed them to form in the first place. I will describe the connection between such films in a semi-traditional wetting dynamics geometry and active brownian dynamics. I then explore their power to explain a wide range of processes from materials science to astro- and geo-science.
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