Rupture of thin liquid films on structured surfaces

Vladimir Sergeevich Ajaev, Elizaveta Ya Gatapova, Oleg A. Kabov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate stability and breakup of a thin liquid film on a solid surface under the action of disjoining pressure. The solid surface is structured by parallel grooves. Air is trapped in the grooves under the liquid film. Our mathematical model takes into account the effect of slip due to the presence of menisci separating the liquid film from the air inside the grooves, the deformation of these menisci due to local variations of pressure in the liquid film, and nonuniformities of the Hamaker constant which measures the strength of disjoining pressure. Both linear stability and strongly nonlinear evolution of the film are analyzed. Surface structuring results in decrease of the fastest growing instability wavelength and the rupture time. It is shown that a simplified description of film dynamics based on the standard formula for effective slip leads to significant deviations from the behavior seen in our simulations. Self-similar decay over several orders of magnitude of the film thickness near the rupture point is observed. We also show that the presence of the grooves can lead to instability in otherwise stable films if the relative groove width is above a critical value, found as a function of disjoining pressure parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041606
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability

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