EWOD, electrowetting force, droplet, contact angle, droplet actuator, velocity, contact line friction


Electrowetting on Dielectric is a phenomenon in which the shape and apparent contact angle of a droplet changes when an electric field is applied across the droplet interface. If the field is asymmetric with respect to the droplet, then a net force can be applied to the droplet. In this work, we have measured the electrowetting force by confining the droplet shape beneath a glass plate and measuring the force on the plate. The force was measured as a function of voltage for a range of fluids with different surface energy. Measured forces show excellent agreement with predictions based on the Young-Lippmann equation with measured contact angles. Results also show that the electrowetting force is independent of fluid surface energy below saturation but that the peak force is proportional to the surface tension. This work shows that lowering the surface energy of the fluid can induce larger contact angle change under the same voltage, but it has no beneficial impact on the actuation force in droplet-based actuators. In contrast, velocity tests with deformable droplets show higher speeds for lower surface energy fluids, even above their saturation voltage. However, when the droplet’s shape is restrained, the highest velocity is achieved with high surface energy fluids due to the larger electrowetting actuation forces applied.

Original Publication Citation

Q. Ni, D. E. Capecci, and N. B. Crane, “Electrowetting Force and Velocity Dependence on Fluid Surface Energy,” Micro and Nanofluidics, 2015, DOI: 10.1007/s10404-015-1563-7.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Micro and Nanofluidics




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor