Equilibrium conditions for the floating of multiple interfacial objects

Dominic Vella, Paul D. Metcalfe, Robert J. Whittaker

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54 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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