James J. Feng, Xiaopeng Chen, Pengtao Yue & Chunfeng Zhou
Invited chapter in
Understanding Soft Condensed Matter via Modeling and Computations, Chapter 11, pp. 339-363
Vol. 3 in World Scientific series on "Soft Condensed Matter"
Abstract - This chapter describes the unusual behavior of interfaces between complex fluids through two examples: the partial coalescence between a drop and a planar interface, and the interaction and self-assembly of droplets suspended in a nematic liquid crystal. The main message is that coupling among 3 disparate length scales the microscopic scale of molecular and supramolecular configuration, the mesoscopic scale of the interfaces, and the macroscopic scale of hydrodynamics produces interfacial dynamics that may differ markedly from that in Newtonian fluids. A diffuse-interface theory provides a convenient framework for describing two-phase complex fluids, and finite-element computations reproduce the main features of the experimental observations, and reveal the underlying physical mechanisms.