Estimation of solid-liquid interfacial tension using curved surface of a soft solid

Unlike liquids, for crystalline solids the surface tension is known to be different from the surface energy. However, the same cannot be said conclusively for amorphous materials like soft cross-linked elastomers. To resolve this issue we have introduced here a direct method for measuring solid-liquid interfacial tension by using the curved surface of a solid. In essence, we have used the inner surface of tiny cylindrical channels embedded inside a soft elastomeric film for sensing the effect of the interfacial tension. When a liquid is inserted into the channel, because of wetting-induced alteration in interfacial tension, its thin wall deflects considerably; the deflection is measured with an optical profilometer and analyzed using the Föppl–von Kármán equation. We have used several liquids and cross-linked poly(dimethylsiloxane) as the solid to show that the estimated values of the solid-liquid interfacial tension matches with the corresponding solid–liquid interfacial energy reasonably well.