Falling films on flexible inclines

O. K. Matar, R. V. Craster, S. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The nonlinear stability and dynamic behavior of falling fluid films is studied for flow over a flexible substrate. We use asymptotic methods to deduce governing equations valid in various limits. Long-wave theory is used to derive Benney-like coupled equations for the film thickness and substrate deflection. Weakly nonlinear equations are then derived from these equations that, in the limit of large wall damping and/or large wall tension, reduce to the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation. These models break down when inertia becomes more significant, so we also use a long-wave approximation in conjunction with integral theory to derive three strongly coupled nonlinear evolution equations for the film thickness, substrate deflection, and film volumetric flow rate valid at higher Reynolds numbers. These equations, accounting for inertia, capillary, viscous, wall tension, and damping effects, are solved over a wide range of parameters. Our results suggest that decreasing wall damping and/or wall tension can promote the development of chaos in the weakly nonlinear regime and lead to severe substrate deformations in the strongly nonlinear regime; these can give rise to situations in which the free surface and underlying substrate come into contact in finite time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056301
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 8 2007


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