Abstract

We present the results of a combined experimental and theoretical investigation of the surface-tension-driven coalescence of flexible structures. Specifically, we consider the dynamics of the rise of a wetting liquid between flexible sheets that are clamped at their upper ends. As the elasticity of the sheets is progressively increased, we observe a systematic deviation from the classical diffusive-like behaviour: the time to reach equilibrium increases dramatically and the departure from classical rise occurs sooner, trends that we elucidate via scaling analyses. Three distinct temporal regimes are identified and subsequently explored by developing a theoretical model based on lubrication theory and the linear theory of plates. The resulting free-boundary problem is solved numerically and good agreement is obtained with experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-654
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume679
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 25 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

Keywords

  • capillary flows
  • lubrication theory
  • porous media

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