Surfactant destabilization and non-linear phenomena in two-fluid shear flows at small Reynolds numbers

Anna Kalogirou, Demetrios T. Papageorgiou, Yiorgos-Sokratis Smyrlis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The flow of two superposed fluids in a channel in the presence of an insoluble surfactant is studied. Asymptotic analysis when one of the layers is thin yields a system of coupled weakly non-linear evolution equations for the film thickness and the local surface surfactant concentration. Film and main flow dynamics are coupled through a non-local term, and in the absence of surfactants the model is non-linearly stable with trivial large time solutions. Instability arises due to the presence of surfactants and the pseudo-differential non-linear system is solved numerically by implementing accurate linearly implicit methods. Extensive numerical experiments reveal that the dynamics are mostly organized into travelling or time-periodic travelling wave pulses, but spatiotemporal chaos is also supported when the length of the system is sufficiently large.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
JournalIMA Journal of Applied Mathematics
Issue number3
Early online date5 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • two-phase flows
  • Marangoni instability
  • surfactants

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