YoungLaplace equation


Young–Laplace equation
In physics, the Young–Laplace equation is a nonlinear partial differential equation that describes the capillary pressure difference sustained across the interface between two static fluids, such as water and air, due to the phenomenon of surface tension or wall tension, although usage on the latter is only applicable if assuming that the wall is very thin. The Young–Laplace equation relates the pressure difference to the shape of the surface or wall and it is fundamentally important in the study of static capillary surfaces. It is a statement of normal stress balance for static fluids meeting at an interface, where the interface is treated as a surface (zero thickness):


is the pressure difference across the fluid interface, γ is the surface tension (or wall tension), is the mean curvature, and

is the

unit normal pointing out of the surface,


are the principal radii of

curvature. (Some authors refer inappropriately to the factor

as the total curvature.) Note that only normal stress

is considered, this is because it can be shown that a static interface is possible only in the absence of tangential stress. The equation is named after Thomas Young, who developed the qualitative theory of surface tension in 1805, and Pierre-Simon Laplace who completed the mathematical description in the following year. It is sometimes also called the Young–Laplace–Gauss equation, as Gauss unified the work of Young and Laplace in 1830, deriving both the differential equation and boundary conditions using Johann Bernoulli's virtual work principles.[2]

Soap films
If the pressure difference is zero, as in a soap film without gravity, the interface will assume the shape of a minimal surface.

The equation also explains the energy required to create an emulsion. To form the small, highly curved droplets of an emulsion, extra energy is required to overcome the large pressure that results from their small radius.

Capillary pressure in a tube

h. The solution is a portion of a sphere. This is sometimes known as the Jurin rule or Jurin height[3] after James Jurin who studied the effect in 1718.e. For a fluid of density ρ: . say..YoungLaplace equation 2 In a sufficiently narrow (i. existence of solution for one specific value of the pressure difference prescribes it. the bottom of the meniscus. θ. which can be positive or negative. low Bond number) tube of circular cross-section (radius a). which in turn depends on the exact properties of the fluids and the solids in which they are in contact: so that the pressure difference may be written as: In order to maintain hydrostatic equilibrium.0728 J/m2 at 20 °C θ = 20° (0.[4] For a water-filled glass tube in air at sea level: Illustration of capillary rise. Red=contact angle less than 90°. blue=contact angle greater than 90° γ = 0. the induced capillary pressure is balanced by a change in height. — where g is the gravitational acceleration.35 rad) ρ = 1000 kg/m3 g = 9. the interface between two fluids forms a meniscus that is a portion of the surface of a sphere with radius R. The pressure jump across this surface is: This may be shown by writing the Young–Laplace equation in spherical form with a contact angle boundary condition and also a prescribed height boundary condition at. depending on whether the wetting angle is less than or greater than 90°. Spherical meniscus with wetting angle less than 90° The radius of the sphere will be a function only of the contact angle. and the solution will exist only for the pressure difference shown above.8 m/s2 — and so the height of the water column is given by: . This is significant because there isn't another equation or law to specify the pressure difference.

p=pressure. the capillary length: — and characteristic pressure: For clean water at standard temperature and pressure. Axisymmetric equations The (nondimensional) shape. The solution of the equation requires an initial condition for position. the water would rise 14 cm (about 6 inches). r=radius.5 and initial condition r0=0. the water would rise 14 mm. Δp* and the scale of the surface is given by the capillary length. the thickened left ventricle is stiffer than when the thickness is normal. Capillary action in general In the general case. and the left ventricle of the heart can be viewed as part cylinder. and the gradient of the surface at the start point. The non-dimensional equation then becomes: Thus. However.1 mm. Arteries may be viewed as cylinders. part hemisphere (a bullet shape). However.25−4. the hydrostatic pressure and the effects of surface tension. and also respiratory physiology. r(z) of an axisymmetric surface can be found by substituting general expressions for curvature to give the hydrostatic Young–Laplace equations [5]: A liquid bridge is produced for an over pressure of Δp*=3. the surface shape is determined by only one parameter. also. for a free surface and where there is an applied "over-pressure". t=wall thickness. so it requires elevated pressures to fill. increased radius requires increased wall thickness to accommodate a stable wall tension. where T=wall tension. Note that trucks carrying pressurized gas often . used in the context of cardiovascular physiology. at the interface in equilibrium. increased pressure requires increased thickness to maintain a stable wall tension. dz/dr=0 Application in medicine In medicine it is often referred to as the Law of Laplace.YoungLaplace equation 3 m. For a given pressure. Thus for a 2 mm wide (1 mm radius) tube. there is a balance between the applied pressure. modeled by the Law of Laplace as T=p x r / (2 x t). z0=0. The Young–Laplace equation becomes: The equation can be non-dimensionalised in terms of its characteristic length-scale. for a capillary tube with radius 0. a condition known as diastolic heart failure. the capillary length is ~2 mm. Δp. the over pressure of the fluid. The latter is used to explain thickening of arteries and thickening of the left ventricle to accommodate high blood pressure.

Carl Neumann later filled in a few details. if both alveoli are connected to the same airway.[7] The Law of Laplace can also be used to model transmural pressure in the heart and the rest of the circulatory system. and in accord with the Law of Laplace. Surfactant reduces the surface tension on all alveoli. The Law of Laplace also explains various phenomena encountered in the pathology of vascular or gastrointestinal walls. and therefore the aneurysm will continue to expand until it ruptures. The lung contains small spherical gas-exchange chambers called alveoli. not of any other dimensions of the column. the smaller one will empty itself into the larger one. the radius of the vessel has increased. If the balloons are equal in thickness and radius then they can stay equally inflated. tending to decrease size during exhalation. which reproduced in symbolic terms the relationship described earlier by Young. Thus. The part which deals with the action of a solid on a liquid and the mutual action of two liquids was not worked out thoroughly.YoungLaplace equation have multiple tubes of small radius. the small alveolus will be more likely to collapse. The Law of Laplace explains why alveoli of the lung need small radius to accommodate their thin walls for gas exchange at atmospheric pressure. surfactant compensates for the size differences between alveoli. A similar logic applies to the formation of diverticuli in the gut. This means that the inward force on the vessel decreases. This explains why the presence of surfactant lining the alveoli is of vital importance. For example. 4 History Francis Hauksbee performed some of the earliest observations and experiments in 1709 and these were repeated in 1718 by James Jurin who observed that the height of fluid in a capillary column was a function only of the cross-sectional area at the surface. that the phenomenon was due to a force of attraction that was insensible at sensible distances. but its effect is greater on small alveoli than on large alveoli. Numerous small radius alveoli also achieves high surface area[6] Applying the Law of Laplace to alveoli of the lung. In that case. Laplace accepted the idea propounded by Hauksbee in the Philosophical Transactions for 1709.[4][8] Thomas Young laid the foundations of the equation in his 1804 paper An Essay on the Cohesion of Fluids [9] where he set out in descriptive terms the principles governing contact between fluids (along with many other aspects of fluid behaviour). a small alveolus will experience a greater inward force than a large alveolus. but ultimately was completed by Gauss. The wall tension in this case represents the muscular tension on the wall of the vessel. The Law of Laplace states that there is an inverse relationship between surface tension and alveolar radius. expelling its contents into the large alveolus.[6] You can mimic this issue by connecting two inflated balloons to either ends of a plastic straw or a stiffer tube (you may need rubber bands to secure them). where a single alveolus can be modeled as being a perfect sphere.[8][11] . Pierre Simon Laplace followed this up in Mécanique Céleste [10] with the formal mathematical description given above. if an aneurysm forms in a blood vessel wall. the pressure differential nets a force pushing on the surface of the alveolus. so that the wall tension T will be low to reduce need for thick walls to prevent pipes from bursting. but if you squeeze one a bit to reduce its radius. It follows from this that if surface tensions are equal. and ensures that smaller alveoli do not collapse. the condition will be unstable.

1098/rstl. Justin Pearlman (2007). Bush. F.). doi:10. by John W. G. Rapid Review McGraw-Hill on Answers. tcd. Including Hydrostatics and the Elements of the Theory of Elasticity. Encyclopædia Britannica • Batchelor. [3] "Jurin rule" (http:/ / www.54. Cambridge. Goljan. H. 65 [10] Mécanique céleste. answers. AMS. 4th ed. [8] [Anon. J. Trans. edu/ 1. 2003. in 1806 [11] Rouse Ball. [6] Sherwood. [2] Robert Finn (1999). html)". Dover. (1995) Surfactants in Agrochemicals. mit. in A Short Account of the History of Mathematics. ams. 1805. England: Cambridge University Press.. Retrieved 2007-09-05. com/ topic/ jurin-rule?cat=technology). 3rd ed. ISBN 0-495-01485-0. Surfactant Science series.. p. pdf). [7] E. Human physiology from cells to systems (6th ed. 2nd ed. pub. at MIT OCW. W. Dekker . Mosby Elsevier. [4] Jurin (1717/1719) [5] Lamb. McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms. ie/ pub/ HistMath/ People/ Laplace/ RouseBall/ RB_Laplace. Lauralee. Thomson Brooks/Cole. . Encyclopædia Britannica [9] Phil. Supplement to the tenth edition. In Peter (1967) An Introduction To Fluid Dynamics. 63/ www/ Lec-notes/ Surfacetension/ ). K. "Capillary Surface Interfaces" (http:/ / www. "An account of some experiments shown before the Royal Society. org/ Capillary_action).1911encyclopedia. with an enquiry into the cause of the ascent and suspension of water in capillary tubes". . "Ch13". M. [1908] (2003) " Pierre Simon Laplace (1749–1827) (http:/ / www. Cambridge University Press • Jurin. vol.] (1911) Capillary action (http://www. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 30 (351–363): 739–747. W.YoungLaplace equation 5 References [1] Surface Tension Module (http:/ / web. (1717/1719). org/ notices/ 199907/ fea-finn. maths. 1911encyclopedia. 1928.0026. ISBN 0-486-20630-0 Bibliography • [Anon.1717. Statics.] (1911) Capillary action (http:/ / www. • Tadros T. Pathology.

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