Instabilities and Taylor Dispersion in Isothermal Binary Thin Fluid Films
Experiments with glycerol-water thin films flowing down an inclined plane reveal a localized instability that is primarily three dimensional. These transient structures, referred to as “dimples,” appear initially as nearly isotropic depressions on the interface. A linear stability analysis of a binary mixture model in which barodiffusive effects dominate over thermophoresis (the Soret effect) reveals unstable modes when the components of the mixture have different bulk densities and surface tensions. This instability occurs when Fickian diffusion and Taylor dispersion effects are small, and is driven by solutalcapillary stresses arising from gradients in concentration of one component, across the depth of the film. Qualitative comparison between the experiments and the linear stability results over a wide range of parameters is presented. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.