Kinetic effects regularize the mass-flux singularity at the contact line of a thin evaporating drop

Saxton, Matthew ; Vella, D ; Whiteley, JP ; Oliver, JM


We consider the transport of vapour caused by the evaporation of a thin, axisymmetric, partially wetting drop into an inert gas. We take kinetic effects into account through a linear constitutive law that states that the mass flux through the drop surface is proportional to the difference between the vapour concentration in equilibrium and that at the interface. Provided that the vapour concentration is finite, our model leads to a finite mass flux in contrast to the contact-line singularity in the mass flux that is observed in more standard models that neglect kinetic effects. We perform a local analysis near the contact line to investigate the way in which kinetic effects regularize the mass-flux singularity at the contact line. An explicit expression is derived for the mass flux through the free surface of the drop. A matched-asymptotic analysis is used to further investigate the regularization of the mass-flux singularity in the physically relevant regime in which the kinetic timescale is much smaller than the diffusive one. We find that the effect of kinetics is limited to an inner region near the contact line, in which kinetic effects enter at leading order and regularize the mass-flux singularity. The inner problem is solved explicitly using the Wiener–Hopf method and a uniformly valid composite expansion is derived for the mass flux in this asymptotic limit.