Capillary forces between surfaces with nanoscale roughness

Yakov I. Rabinovich, Joshua J. Adler, Madhavan S. Esayanur, Ali Ata, Rajiv K. Singh, Brij M. Moudgil

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


The flow and adhesion behavior of fine powders (approx. less than 10 μm) is significantly affected by the magnitude of attractive interparticle forces. Hence, the relative humidity and magnitude of capillary forces are critical parameters in the processing of these materials. In this investigation, approximate theoretical formulae are developed to predict the magnitude and onset of capillary adhesion between a smooth adhering particle and a surface with roughness on the nanometer scale. Experimental adhesion values between a variety of surfaces are measured via atomic force microscopy and are found to validate theoretical predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-230
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 25 Feb 2002
Externally publishedYes


The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Particle Science and Technology at the University of Florida, The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant No. EEC-94-02989, and the Industrial Partners of the ERC.

FundersFunder number
Engineering Research Center
National Science Foundation
University of Florida


    • Adhesion
    • Atomic force microscope
    • Capillary
    • Nanoscale
    • Relative humidity
    • Roughness
    • Surface force


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