Height-width method

Method for determining the contact angle in drop shape analysis. The contact angle is calculated from the width of a sessile drop and its height at the apex.


With the height-width method, it is assumed that the shape of the sessile drop describes a circular arc on the surface. The contact angle can be calculated from the height and width of the rectangle which encloses the circular arc.

Different equations are used depending on whether the contact angle is greater than or less than 90°:

Only the three required points - the two three-phase points and the apex - are sought in the drop shape analysis. An alternative method is the circle method, in which the whole contour of the drop is evaluated and is therefore more robust.
As the real drop shape deviates from the circular arc for larger contact angles and volumes, other methods should be used for contact angles greater than 20° and volumes of more than 1 µL.


G.L. Mack, D.A. Lee, J. Phys. Chem., 40, 1936, 169-176.