Numerical investigation of oscillatory thermocapillary flows under zero gravity in a circular liquid film with concave free surfaces

T. Yamamoto, Y. Takagi, Y. Okano, S. Dost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

NASA astronaut Pettit has conducted thermocapillary flow experiments in water films suspended in a solid ring onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2003 and 2011. In one of these experiments, an oscillatory thermocapillary flow was observed. The developed flow broke its symmetry along the centerline of the film. To the best of our knowledge, there are no studies on such oscillatory thermocapillary flows in thin films, and the flow-mechanism giving rise to such oscillatory flows is also not well understood. In order to shed light on the subject, we have carried out a numerical simulation study. The simulation results have shown that the water film geometry (film surface shape; being concave) is an important parameter and give rise to three oscillatory flow structures in the film, namely, a hydrothermal wave developing near the heated section, a symmetric oscillatory flow due to temperature variations, and a symmetry breaking flow due to the hydrodynamic instability along the free boundary layer (mixing layer) and the development of the hydrothermal waves. Simulation results show that the symmetry-breaking phenomenon observed in the thin film experiment on the ISS can be explained by the hydrodynamic instability and the development of hydrothermal waves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032106
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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