Solvation forces between molecularly rough surfaces

Kan Yang, Yangzheng Lin, Xiancai Lu, Alexander V. Neimark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Surface heterogeneity affects significantly wetting and adhesion properties. However, most of the theories and simulation methods of calculating solid-fluid interactions assume a standard thermodynamic model of the Gibbs' dividing solid-fluid interface, which is molecularly smooth. This assumption gives rise to a layering of the fluid phase near the surface that is displayed in oscillating density profiles in any theories and simulation models, which account for the hard core intermolecular repulsion. This layering brings about oscillations of the solvation (or disjoining) pressure as a function of the gap distance, which are rarely observed in experiments, except for ideal monocrystal surfaces. We present a detailed study of the effects of surface roughness on the solvation pressure of Lennard-Jones (LJ) fluids confined by LJ walls based on the quenched solid density functional theory (QSDFT). In QSDFT, the surface roughness is quantified by the roughness parameter, which represents the thickness of the surface " corona" - the region of varying solid density. We show that the surface roughness of the amplitude comparable with the fluid molecular diameter effectively damps the oscillations of solvation pressure that would be observed for molecularly smooth surfaces. The calculations were done for the LJ model of nitrogen sorption at 74.4. K in slit-shaped carbon nanopores to provide an opportunity of comparing with standard adsorption experiments. In addition to a better understanding of the fundamentals of fluid adsorption on heterogeneous surfaces and inter-particle interactions, an important practical outcome is envisioned in modeling of adsorption-induced deformation of compliant porous substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


  • Adsorption and Adhesion
  • Solvation pressure
  • Surface roughness


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