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The depth-averaged numerical simulation of laminar thin-film flows with capillary waves

Kakimpa, Bruce; Morvan, Herve; Hibberd, Stephen

The depth-averaged numerical simulation of laminar thin-film flows with capillary waves Thumbnail


Bruce Kakimpa

Herve Morvan

Stephen Hibberd


Thin-film flows encountered in engineering systems such as aero-engine bearing chambers often exhibit capillary waves and occur within a moderate to high Weber number range. Although the depth-averaged simulation of these thin-film flows is computationally efficient relative to traditional volume-of-fluid (VOF) methods, numerical challenges remain particularly for solutions involving capillary waves and in the higher Weber number, low surface tension range. A depth-averaged approximation of the Navier–Stokes equations has been used to explore the effect of surface tension, grid resolution, and inertia on thin-film rimming solution accuracy and numerical stability. In shock and pooling solutions where capillary ripples are present, solution stability, and accuracy are shown to be highly sensitive to surface tension. The common practice in analytical studies of enforcing unphysical low Weber number stability constraints is shown to stabilize the solution by artificially damping capillary oscillations. This approach, however, although providing stable solutions is shown to adversely affect solution accuracy. An alternative grid resolution-based stability criterion is demonstrated and used to obtain numerically stable shock and pooling solutions without recourse to unphysical surface tension values. This allows for the accurate simulation of thin-film flows with capillary waves within the constrained parameter space corresponding to physical material and flow properties. Results obtained using the proposed formulation and solution strategy show good agreement with available experimental data from literature for low Re coating flows and moderate to high Re falling wavy film flows.


Kakimpa, B., Morvan, H., & Hibberd, S. (2016). The depth-averaged numerical simulation of laminar thin-film flows with capillary waves. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power, 138(11), Article 112501.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 3, 2016
Publication Date May 24, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 28, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 28, 2016
Journal Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power
Print ISSN 0742-4795
Electronic ISSN 1528-8919
Publisher American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 138
Issue 11
Article Number 112501
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information © ASME
Contract Date Jun 28, 2016


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