Thin Film Flows on a Substrate of Finite Width: A Novel Similarity Solution

22 October 2020
Howard Stone

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There are many examples of thin-film flows in fluid dynamics, and in many cases similarity solutions are possible. In the typical, well-known case the thin-film shape is described by a nonlinear partial differential equation in two independent variables (say x and t), which upon recognition of a similarity variable, reduces the problem to a nonlinear ODE. In this talk I describe work we have done on 1) Marangoni-driven spreading on pre-wetted films, where the thickness of the pre-wetted film affects the dynamics, and 2) the drainage of a film on a vertical substrate of finite width. In the latter case we find experimentally a structure to the film shape near the edge, which is a function of time and two space variables. Analysis of the corresponding thin-film equation shows that there is a similarity solution, collapsing three independent variables to one similarity variable, so that the PDE becomes an ODE. The solution is in excellent agreement with the experimental measurements.

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