Collective behavior during the exit of a wetting liquid through a network of channels

Abstract : The exit of a wetting fluid from a thin microchannel into a sudden expansion is studied experimentally. In the case of the exit from a single channel, the advancing interface converges to a parabolic shape after an initial transient, in accordance with the lubrication limit analysis of a spreading drop. The experiments are then repeated for the exit from two parallel channels. At early times, the two exiting drops behave independently and display the same evolution as a single exiting droplet, while at late times we recover a single parabolic profile. The transition between the early and late states is due to the merging of the two drops, which is associated with a sudden increase in the flow rate. This is the signature of a collective effect which acts to redistribute the fluid spatially. Finally, the experiment is generalized to the case of seven parallel channels where a cascade of two-by-two mergings is observed, indicating that local interactions dominate the dynamics which lead to the global state of the system. Cop. 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Charles Baroud, Xin Wang, Jean-Baptiste Masson. Collective behavior during the exit of a wetting liquid through a network of channels. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Elsevier, 2008, 326 (2), pp.445. ⟨10.1016/j.jcis.2008.06.040⟩. ⟨hal-00824265⟩

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