Senior Thesis

Department of Mathematics
Harvey Mudd College

Peter Lamb

Harvey Mudd College Mathematics 2003

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SeniorThesis:
Ridge Coarsening in Evaporatively-Driven Climbing Films

Thesis Advisor:
Prof. Ali Nadim

Second Reader:
Prof. Andrew J. Bernoff



Ridge Coarsening in Evaporatively-Driven Climbing Films

When the evolution of a thin film mixture of alcohol and water on an inclined plate is examined several interesting instabilities form. Where the base of the thin film rejoins the larger reservoir, small ridges form which slowly drift to the side and merge with others, coarsening into larger ridges. These instabilities are driven primarily by the alcohol evaporating more quickly than the water, forming surface tension gradients, thus causing what is known as Marangoni convection. My research focuses on figuring out why these ridges coarsen as they do.