Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Faculty Research


Applicability of Washburn Capillary Rise for Determining Water Contact Angle for Powders and Porous Materials

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


The Washburn capillary rise (WCR) technique has been widely utilized for determining contact angles of powders or porous materials; however, there are concerns regarding powder size and powder packing, especially for materials that exhibit large contact angle hysteresis. In this paper, some of these concerns were addressed. Due to the large water contact angle hysteresis on flat nylon 6/6 films, these films were ground into powders of different sizes and then used as model packing materials. The powders were packed in glass tubes to result in various packing structures that affected the penetration (i.e. advancing) rate of the test liquids. While all advancing contact angles obtained from WCR were found to be overestimated, more reasonable values were resulted when relatively large powders (e.g. 500-2000 μm) were used to pack the tubes. With larger powders, the packing contained bigger voids and consequently lead to slower penetration rates of the liquids, hence a relatively smaller advancing contact angle. The smaller advancing contact angle obtained from the slower advancing rate was also observed by using the sessile drop method. To verify the applicability of using large powders (500-2000 μm) for contact angle determination by using WCR, the advancing water contact angles of a bacterial cellulose/alginate composite sponge (BCA) with and without UV/ozone treatment were measured. The results showed that by using relatively large powders, WCR could be applied to obtain a reasonable advancing contact angle and assess the wettability change of complex porous materials.



First Page


Last Page