We present numerical computations of the deformation of an oil-droplet under the influence of a surface tension gradient generated by the surfactant released at the poles (the Greenspan experiment). We find this deformation to be very small under the pure surface tension gradient. To explain the large deformation of oil droplets observed in Greenspan’s experiments, we propose the existence of a phoretic force generated by the concentration gradient of the surfactant. We show that this hypothesis successfully explains the available experimental data and we propose some further tests.

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