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Free surface flows

MSC : Laurent Limat, Adrian Daerr, Luc Lebon.

In a number of common flows the free surface of the liquid is deformed by the flow, and conversely affects the flow through surface tension: everyday examples include drops, thin rivulets and liquid sheets. This can sometimes lead to unexpected behaviour and instabilities, and can easily become a major problem in industrial processes such as coating or extruding. Liquid films for example can oscillate, de-wet, etc.

We have recently characterised and explained the wetting transition of a drop sliding down a surface, which will become conical at the rear for increasing speed until it eventually leaves smaller droplets behind. We study other instabilities experimentally where we feel that the mechanisms are not satisfactorily understood: inclined hydraulic jumps and oscillators, rivulet meandering, liquid-on-liquid spreading, ...

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