Bendocapillary Instability of Liquid in a Flexible-Walled Channel

We study the bendocapillary instability of a liquid droplet that part fills a flexible walled channel. Inspired by experiments in which a periodic pattern emerges as droplets of liquid are condensed slowly into deformable microchannels, we develop a mathematical model of this instability. We describe equilibria of the system, and use a combination of numerical methods and asymptotic analysis in the limit of small channel wall deflections, to elucidate the key features of this instability. We find that configurations are unstable to perturbations of sufficiently small wavenumber regardless of parameter values, that the growth rate of the instability is highly sensitive to the volume of liquid in the channel, and that both wetting and non-wetting configurations are susceptible to the instability in the same channel. Insight into novel interfacial instabilities opens the possibility for their control and thus exploitation in processes such as microfabrication.


Publication status:
Authors: Bradley, Alexander T. ORCIDORCID record for Alexander T. Bradley, Hewitt, Ian J., Vella, Dominic

On this site: Alexander Bradley
25 January, 2023
Journal of Fluid Mechanics / 955
Link to published article: