Electrified multi-fluid film flows

26 May 2011
Demetrios Papageorgiou
Flows involving immiscible liquids are encountered in a variety of industrial and natural processes. Recent applications in micro- and nano-fluidics have led to a significant scientific effort whose aim (among other aspects) is to enable theoretical predictions of the spatiotemporal dynamics of the interface(s) separating different flowing liquids. In such applications the scale of the system is small, and forces such as surface tension or externally imposed electrostatic forces compete and can, in many cases, surpass those of gravity and inertia. This talk will begin with a brief survey of applications where electrohydrodynamics have been used experimentally in micro-lithography, and experiments will be presented that demonstrate the use of electric fields in producing controlled encapsulated droplet formation in microchannels. The main thrust of the talk will be theoretical and will mostly focus on the paradigm problem of the dynamics of electrified falling liquid films over topographically structured substrates. Evolution equations will be developed asymptotically and their solutions will be compared to direct simulations in order to identify their practicality. The equations are rich mathematically and yield novel examples of dissipative evolutionary systems with additional effects (typically these are pseudo-differential operators) due to dispersion and external fields. The models will be analysed (we have rigorous results concerning global existence of solutions, the existence of dissipative dynamics and an absorbing set, and analyticity), and accurate numerical solutions will be presented to describe the large time dynamics. It is found that electric fields and topography can be used to control the flow.Time permitting, I will present some recent results on transitions between convective to absolute instabilities for film flows over periodic topography.
  • Differential Equations and Applications Seminar