Topological transitions in evaporating thin films

Avraham Klein, Oded Agam
2012 Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical  
A thin water film evaporating from a cleaved mica substrate undergoes a first-order phase transition between two values of film thickness. During evaporation, the interface between the two phases develops a fingering instability similar to that observed in the Saffman-Taylor problem. The dynamics of the droplet interface is dictated by an infinite number of conserved quantities: all harmonic moments decay exponentially at the same rate. A typical scenario is the nucleation of a dry patch within
more » ... the droplet domain. We construct solutions of this problem and analyze the toplogical transition occuring when the boundary of the dry patch meets the outer boundary. We show a duality between Laplacian growth and evaporation, and utilize it to explain the behaviour near the transition. We construct a family of problems for which evaporation and Laplacian growth are limiting cases and show that a necessary condition for a smooth topological transition, in this family, is that all boundaries share the same pressure.
doi:10.1088/1751-8113/45/35/355003 fatcat:ogwfqzo36zg37dmsmky3kwnv5u