Thin-Film Fluid Flows over Microdecorated Surfaces: Observation of Polygonal Hydraulic Jumps
Entry by Leon Furchtgott, APP 225 Fall 2010.
Thin-Film Fluid Flows over Microdecorated Surfaces: Observation of Polygonal Hydraulic Jumps (2010). PRL, 102, 194503.
The paper is interested in the behavior of liquid films flowing over rough substrates whose asperities are the same sizes as the film thickness. The flow of thin films on substrates is of interest in many different fields, from industrial processes to biology and vulcanology. There has been some research on how individual isolated features of substrates affect flow, but little on the collective influence of patterns of micron-size asperities. In addition, previous studies have examined films thicker or thinner than the characteristic length scales of the substrate, while this study looks at thin liquid films with thickness on the same order of magnitude as the roughness of the substrate. The authors investigate flows through experimental observations of flows on regular arrays of micron-size pores with different sizes and arrangements of pores. The authors then model the flow using a boundary-layer approach and fit experimental results to the model.
Water is pumped into a nozzle of radius 1.2 mm at a flow rate Q between 0.5 and 2.5 L/min (Fig. 1a). The jet impacts the center of a patterned disc of PDMS of radius 2.5 cm, which is embedded in a smooth clear acrylic plate (Fig. 1b). The patterned surface consists of square or hexagonal arrays of cylindrical posts with height H, radius R and lattice distance D of the order of 100 <math>\mu m</math>. The water spreads radially over the rough substrate, then over the smooth surrounding area, before spilling into the collection reservoir. The water sheet experiences a hydraulic jump at a particular radius. The thickness <math>h(r)</math> of the thin film propagating before the jump is of the order of a few hundreds of microns, whereas the depth of the water layer outside the jump is d = 4.3 mm. Measurements show that d does not depend on the flow rate and the substrate topography.
Intriguingly, patterning of asperities on the substrate can break the symmetry of the typically circular hydraulic jump. In Fig. 1c, the jump adopts an eight-corner star shape. The remainder of the paper examines the role of the lattice geometry and the fluid properties. The paper concentrates on effects on the thin film and assumes that the flow in the outer layer are constant.
The authors begin by varying the symmetry of the lattice (Fig. 2). They look at jumps of the same mean radius but formed over different micropatterned surfaces, with hexagonal (b) and square (c) shapes. These have an effect on the jump symmetries.
This shape selection is robust in that it is independent of the viscosity and surface tension of the water that is being flowed. This tells us that the symmetry breaking is not caused by viscocapillarity or inertiocapillary instability.
The authors vary systematically the parameters of a square lattice, both the lattice distance D and the height of the posts H (see Fig. 3). For each set (D, H), they look at the average jump radius as a function of the flow rate Q:
- For all (D, H), the mean jump radius increases nonlinearly with the flow rate, and the corners of the polygonal structures become sharper with the flow rate.
- For a given flow rate Q, the radius decreases for smaller D and larger H, and the polygon corners become sharper.
The authors attribute the nonlinearity of the data in Fig. 3 as indicative of the reduction of the average flow rate in the thin film above the posts: some of the liquid flows through the microtexture. One can think of the flow rate of the jet as divided between a 'leakage' flow rate through the roughness and a thin-film flow above the posts.
Relation to Soft Matter
This paper fits well with our discussions of