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Elasto-capillary coalescence of multiple parallel sheets

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2013

A. D. Gat*
Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
M. Gharib
Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Email address for correspondence:


We analyse two-dimensional clamped parallel elastic sheets which are partially immersed in liquid as a model for elasto-capillary coalescence. In the existing literature this problem is studied via minimal energy analysis of capillary and elastic energies of the post-coalescence state, yielding the maximal stable post-coalescence bundle size. Utilizing modal stability analysis and asymptotic analysis, we studied the stability of the configuration before the coalescence occurred. Our analysis revealed previously unreported relations between viscous forces, body forces, and the instability yielding the coalescence, thus undermining a common assumption that coalescence will occur as long as it will not create a bundle larger than the maximal stable post-coalesced size. A mathematical description of the process creating the hierarchical coalescence structure was obtained and yielded that the mean number of sheets per coalesced region is limited to the subset ${2}^{N} $ where $N$ is the set of natural numbers. Our theoretical results were illustrated by experiments and good agreement with the theoretical predictions was observed.

©2013 Cambridge University Press 

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