We present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the motion of wetting droplets in tapered capillary tubes. We demonstrate that drops may move spontaneously towards the tapered end owing to the Laplace pressure gradient established along their length. The influence of gravity on this spontaneous motion is examined by studying drop motion along a tilted tube with its tapered end pointing upwards. Provided the tube taper varies, an equilibrium height may be achieved in which the capillary force is balanced by the drop’s weight. We deduce the family of tube shapes that support a stable equilibrium.
See paper: Renvoise, Bush, Prakash & Quere (2009).