Coarse-grained description of thermo-capillary flow

David Jasnow, Jorge Viñals

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203 Scopus citations


A mesoscopic or coarse-grained approach is presented to study thermo-capillary induced flows. An order parameter representation of a two-phase binary fluid is used in which the interfacial region separating the phases naturally occupies a transition zone of small width. The order parameter satisfies the Cahn-Hilliard equation with advective transport. A modified Navier-Stokes equation that incorporates an explicit coupling to the order parameter field governs fluid flow. It reduces, in the limit of an infinitely thin interface, to the Navier-Stokes equation within the bulk phases and to two interfacial forces: a normal capillary force proportional to the surface tension and the mean curvature of the surface, and a tangential force proportional to the tangential derivative of the surface tension. The method is illustrated in two cases: thermo-capillary migration of drops and phase separation via spinodal decomposition, both in an externally imposed temperature gradient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-669
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996


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