The linearized stability problem for steady, cellular convection resulting from gradients in surface tension is examined in some detail. Earlier work by Pearson (1958) and Sternling & Scriven (1959, 1964) has been extended by considering the effect of gravity waves. In order to avoid the use of an assumed coupling mechanism at the interface, the relevant dynamical equations were retained for both phases. It is shown that the existence of a critical Marangoni number is assured, and that for many situations this critical value is essentially that which is appropriate to the case of a non-deformable interface. Usually, surface waves are important only at very small wave-numbers, but they are dominant for unusually thin layers of very viscous liquids.
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