Contact Angle Hysteresis: Implications for Fluid Flow

  • Cristhian F. Andrade

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Contact angle behavior controls the spreading, sticking, or movement of fluid droplets on top of solid substrates, and the immiscible displacement of mixed fluids in porous media. Therefore, it influences applications such as oil recovery, CO2 geological storage, water transport in unsaturated soils, and DNAPL soil remediation techniques. The attraction forces and geometrical-molecular arrangement at the atomic scale define the strength of the interfacial tension that changes in response to changes in temperature, pressure, or the fluid composition within the system. Contact line behavior such as contact line pinning or depinning, microscale roughness, and changes in interfacial tensions influence advancing and receding contact angles. This study consists of a comprehensive database of published advancing and receding contact angles to understand the underlying mechanisms of contact line pinning and depinning and the implications of these phenomena on advancing and receding contact angles. Calcite experiments that investigate advancing and receding contact angle measurements as a function of ionic concentration complement the published literature. Critical results include: an advancing contact angle trend with calcite as a function of ionic concentration, a point of minimum contact angle hysteresis when brine concentrations are close to 0.1 M, and that contact angle behavior depends on cation type and the calcite surface anisotropy. Contact line pinning prevents flow and increases contact angle hysteresis. An analysis of the database suggests that the wide range of contact angle hysteresis of calcite and quartz with water results both from hydrogen bonds and microscale roughness at the surface which leads to pinned contact lines. The Jamin effect reduces significantly in calcite when the resultant injection brines have an ionic concentration close to 0.1 M. Thus, the pressure difference required to displace a non-wetting fluid for a wetting fluid reduces, and leads to enhanced recovery of trapped oil, gas or DNAPL.
Date of AwardJun 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJ. Carlos Santamarina (Supervisor)


  • Contact angle hysteresis
  • Fluid flow
  • Calcite
  • Contact line
  • Advancing contact angle
  • Receding contact angle

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