How drops start sliding over solid surfaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Florian Geyer
  • Dominik Pilat
  • Sanghyuk Wooh
  • Doris Vollmer
  • Hans-Jürgen Butt
  • Rüdiger Berger

Colleges, School and Institutes


It has been known for more than 200 years that the maximum static friction force between two solid surfaces is usually greater than the kinetic friction force—the force that is required to maintain the relative motion of the surfaces once the static force has been overcome. But the forces that impede the lateral motion of a drop of liquid on a solid surface are not as well characterized, and there is a lack of understanding about liquid–solid friction in general. Here, we report that the lateral adhesion force between a liquid drop and a solid can also be divided into a static and a kinetic regime. This striking analogy with solid–solid friction is a generic phenomenon that holds for liquids of different polarities and surface tensions on smooth, rough and structured surfaces.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191–196
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Early online date6 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018