Thermally induced van der Waals rupture of thin viscous fluid sheets

Mark Bowen*, B. S. Tilley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the dynamics of a thin symmetric fluid sheet subject to an initial temperature profile, where inertia, viscous stresses, disjoining pressures, capillarity, and thermocapillarity are important. We apply a long-wave analysis in the limit where deviations from the mean sheet velocity are small, but thermocapillary stresses and heat transfer from the sheet to the environment are significant and find a coupled system of partial differential equations that describe the sheet thickness, the mean sheet velocity, and the mean sheet temperature. From a linear stability analysis, we find that a stable thermal mode couples the velocity to the interfacial dynamics. This coupling can be utilized to delay the onset of rupture or to promote an earlier rupture event. In particular, rupture can be induced thermally even in cases when the heat transfer to the surrounding environment is significant, provided that the initial phase shift between the initial velocity and temperature disturbances is close to φ = π/2. These effects suggest a strategy that uses phase modulation in the initial temperature perturbation related to the initial velocity perturbation that assigns priority of the rupture events at particular sites over several spatial periods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032106
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Mar 14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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