Consider a fluid system at liquid-vapor coexistence in the presence
of a rigid wall that prefers the liquid. The liquid will then wet the interface
between the vapor phase and the rigid wall.
Partial wetting corresponds to thin liquid
layers and liquid droplets with a finite contact angle
whereas complete wetting is characterized by vanishing contact angle
and thick liquid layers. As one moves the system along the liquid
vapor coexistence line, it may
undergo a transition from partial to complete wetting and, thus, from a thin
to a thick wetting layer.
The classification of these partial-to-complete wetting transitions is based on effective interface models which reveal several scaling regimes for continuous wetting transitions     and local scaling fields that are singular distributions of the interfacial separation . The effective interface potentials arising from molecular interactions are renormalized by shape fluctuations in the weak and strong fluctuation regimes.  The latter regimes are separated by an intermediate regime and have been characterized in detail for two-dimensional systems  and for three-dimensional systems governed by long-ranged forces  . In the latter case, which applies to real liquids, the transitions require fine tuning of the molecular interactions.  Three-dimensional systems with short-ranged forces represent a borderline (or marginal) case with nonuniversal critical behavior.  
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