The ongoing collaboration between our SoftMatterTheory team and the Spicer group at the University of New South Wales unveiled its most recent work last week in a publication in Soft Matter. The paper, authored by Prerna Dahiya of the Spicer group, adds to her existing work characterizing the coalescence of oil droplets. Specifically, she found that when a third oil droplet is brought into contact with an existing doublet, the newly formed triplet with either stay in its initial configuration or restructure into a more closely packed arrangement.

During the SoftMatterTheory residency in Sydney over last summer, Andrew DB joined the project to simulate these triplet interactions and better understand the driving force behind the restructuring. They found that restructuring is always energetically favorable because of the corresponding reduction in surface tension. However, the process only occurs if the reduction in surface tension overcomes the mechanical friction holding the triplet in its initial state.

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