Nano-bubbles have recently been observed experimentally on smooth hydrophobic surfaces; cracks on a surface can likewise be the site of bubbles when partially wetting fluids are used. Because these bubbles may provide a zero shear stress boundary condition and modify considerably the friction generated by the solid boundary, it is of interest to quantify their influence on pressure-driven flow, with particular attention given to small geometries. We investigate two simple configurations of steady pressure-driven Stokes flow in a circular pipe whose surface contains periodically distributed regions of zero surface shear stress. In the spirit of experimental studies probing slip at solid surfaces, the effective slip length of the resulting flow is evaluated as a function of the degrees of freedom describing the surface heterogeneities, namely the relative width of the no-slip and no-shear stress regions and their distribution along the pipe. Comparison of the model with experimental studies of pressure-driven flow in capillaries and microchannels reporting slip is made and a possible interpretation of the experimental results is offered which is consistent with a large number of distributed slip domains such as nano-size and micron-size nearly flat bubbles coating the solid surface. Further, the possibility is suggested of a shear-dependent effective slip length, and an explanation is proposed for the seemingly paradoxical behaviour of the measured slip length increasing with system size, which is consistent with experimental results to date.
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