Journal of Fluid Mechanics



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Equilibrium conditions for the floating of multiple interfacial objects


DOMINIC VELLA a1, PAUL D. METCALFE a1 and ROBERT J. WHITTAKER a1
a1 Institute of Theoretical Geophysics, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK

Article author query
vella d   [Google Scholar] 
metcalfe pd   [Google Scholar] 
whittaker rj   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

We study the effect of interactions between objects floating at fluid interfaces, for the case in which the objects are primarily supported by surface tension. We give conditions on the density and size of these objects for equilibrium to be possible and show that two objects that float when well-separated may sink as the separation between them is decreased. Finally, we examine the equilbrium of a raft of strips floating at an interface, and find that rafts of sufficiently low density may have infinite spatial extent, but that above a critical raft density, all rafts sink if they are sufficiently large. We compare our numerical and asymptotic results with some simple table-top experiments, and find good quantitative agreement.

(Published Online February 8 2006)
(Received September 1 2005)
(Revised November 4 2005)



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