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Interfacial Dynamics

Sheet 1: Capillary Action


1 Show that a solid of revolution of volume V with minimal surface area is a sphere.
2 Show that the surface with the minimum area bounding two parallel rings is a catenoid.
At what inter-ring spacing do you expect the surface to break, forming two circular surfaces
bounding each ring.
3 Let = t n where t is the unit tangent to C, n is the unit normal to S, prove that

ds = [ ( n)n] dS.
C

4 What is the total area displaced by the static meniscus near a vertical planar wall?
5 A rigid sphere of radius a rests on a flat rigid surface, and a small amount of liquid surrounds
the point of contact making a concave-planar lens whose diameter is small compared with a.
The contact angle of the liquid with each of the solid surface is 0, and the tension in the
air-liquid surface is . Show that there is an adhesive force of magnitude 4a acting on the
sphere.
6 Consider a static blob of fluid lying underneath a horizontal plate, z = 0, and occupying
the region x0 x x0 and 0 z h(x). The liquid has a contact angle 1. Assume
that |hz | 1, show that h satisfies
lc2 hzzz + hx = 0
where lc is a constant to be determined. Show that
(
)
cos(x/lc )
h(x) = lc cot(x0 /lc )
,
sin(x0 /lc )
and confirm that the assumption |hz | 1 is justified under certain circumstances, which you
should state. Find the cross-sectional area of the drop. Is there a maximum cross-sectional
area of fluid which can hang beneath the plate in this way?
7 A pair of vertical plates are placed in a fluid bath, the gap spacing being much less than
the capillary length. Find the rise height of the fluid between the plates and describe the
dynamics in the (a) viscous and (b) inertial limit.
The plates are now arranged so as to form a wedge with a small opening angle . Show that
the resulting meniscus takes the form of a hyperbola.
8 Suppose a fluid occupies the region and 0 z h(r, ) in cylindrical polar
coordinates. The boundary at z = 0 is rigid as are the boundaries at = while the
boundary at z = h(r, ) is a static free surface, with contact lines at z = h(r, ).
Write down the linearised Laplace-Young equation, the boundary conditions and a consistency
condition on . Find the unique solution when = /4.