Problems in free boundary Hele-Shaw and Stokes flows

27 February 2014
Michael Dallaston
Two-dimensional viscous fluid flow problems come about either because of a thin gap geometry (Hele-Shaw flow) or plane symmetry (Stokes flow). Such problems can also involve free boundaries between different fluids, and much has been achieved in this area, including by many at Oxford. In this seminar I will discuss some new results in this field. Firstly I will talk about some of the results of my PhD on contracting inviscid bubbles in Hele-Shaw flow, in particular regarding the effects of surface tension and kinetic undercooling on the free boundary. When a bubble contracts to a point, these effects are dominant, and lead to a menagerie of possible extinction shapes. This limiting problem is a generalisation of the curve shortening flow equation from the study of geometric PDEs. We are currently exploring properties of this generalised flow rule. Secondly I will discuss current work on applying a free boundary Stokes flow model to the evolution of subglacial water channels. These channels are maintained by the balance between inward creep of ice and melting due to the flow of water. While these channels are normally modelled as circular or semicircular in cross-section, the inward creep of a viscous fluid is unstable. We look at some simplistic viscous dissipation models and the effect they have on the stability of the channel shape. Ultimately, a more realistic turbulent flow model is needed to understand the morphology of the channel walls.
  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar