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CNA Seminar/Colloquium/Joint Pitt-CNA Colloquium
Ellen Peterson
Carnegie Melllon University
Title: Thin Fluid Films Driven by Surfactant

Abstract: To model the spreading of a droplet of insoluble surfactant on a thin liquid layer, we use the lubrication approximation of the Stokes equations. The resulting system of nonlinear PDE describes the height of the fluid surface and the distribution of surfactant on the surface. The flow is driven by the surface tension gradient induced by the surfactant. Ignoring the smoothing effects of capillarity and diffusion of surfactant, the system simplifies to a pair of transport equations. We examine a solution for both the outer region as well as the boundary layer that accounts for the behavior of the film near the center of the surfactant droplet. We also compare simulations of the full thin film system with experimental observations.

Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: Wean Hall 8220
Submitted by:  Dejan Slepcev