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Two-dimensional Stokes Flows with Time-dependent Free Boundaries Driven by Surface Tension

S. Richardson
Journal / Anthology

Euro. Journal of Applied Mathematics
Year: 1997
Volume: 8
Page range: 311-329

We consider the two-dimensional quasi-steady Stokes flow of an incompressible Newtonian fluid occupying a time-dependent simply-connected region bounded by a free surface, the motion being driven solely by a constant surface tension acting at the free boundary. Of particular concern here are such flows that start from an initial configuration with the fluid occupying an array of touching circular disks. We show that, when there are N such disks in a general position, the evolution of the fluid region is described by a conformal map involving 2N-1 time-dependent parameters whose variation is governed by N Invariants and N-1 first order differential equations. When N=2, or when the problem enjoys some special features of symmetry, the moving boundary of the fluid domain during the motion can be determined by solving purely algebraic equations, the solution of a single differential equation being needed only to link a particular boundary shape to a particular time. The analysis is aided by exploiting a connection with Hele-Shaw free boundary flows when the zero-surface-tension model is employed. If the initial configuration for the Stokes flow problem can be produced by injection (or suction) at N points into an initially empty Hele-Shaw cell, as can the N-disk configuration referred to above, then so can all later configurations; the points where the fluid must be injected move, but the amount to be injected at each of the N points remains invariant. The efficacy of our solution procedure is illustrated by a number of examples, and we exploit the method to show that the free boundary in such a Stokes flow driven by surface tension alone may pass through a cusped state.

*Science > Physics > Fluid Mechanics