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Hele-Shaw Flows with Free Boundaries Driven along Infinite Strips by a Pressure Difference

S. Richardson
Journal / Anthology

European Journal of Applied Mathematics
Year: 1996
Volume: 7
Page range: 345-366

Consider the classical Hele-Shaw situation with two parallel planes separated by a narrow gap, and suppose the plan-view of the region occupied by fluid to be confined to an infinite strip by barriers in the form of two infinite parallel lines. With the fluid initially occupying a bounded, simply-connected region that touches both barriers along a single line segment, we seek to redict the evolution of the plan-view as the blob of fluid is driven along the strip by a pressure difference between its two free boundaries. Supposing the relevant free boundary condition to be one of constant pressure (but a different constant pressure on each free boundary), we show that the motion is characterized by (a) the existence of two functions, analytic in disjoint half-planes, that are invariants of the motion and (b) the centre of area of the plan-view of the blob has a component of velocity down the infinite strip that is simply related to the imposed pressure difference. These features allow explicit analytic solutions to be found; generically, the mathematical solutions breaks down when cusps appear in the retreating free boundaries. A rectangular blob, of course, moves down the strip then, modulo multiply-connected complications, these are first absorbed into the advancing front of the rectangular blob and then disgorged from its retreating rear, leaving behind stationary blobs of exactly the same form in exactly the same place as those originally present, but consisting of different fluid particles. This soliton-like interaction involves no phase change: with a given pressure difference driving the motion, the rectangular blobs in the same position at a given time after the interaction as it would have been had no intervening blobs been present.

*Science > Physics > Fluid Mechanics