Rivulet flow over and through a permeable membrane

Abdulwahed S. Alshaikhi, Stephen K. Wilson, Brian R. Duffy

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Motivated by small-scale natural and industrial processes involving flow over and/or through a layer of a porous medium, a mathematical model for the steady gravity-driven flow of a rivulet of fluid with finite width over and through a permeable membrane is formulated and analyzed. The three-dimensional shape of the free surface of a rivulet with either fixed semiwidth or fixed contact angle is determined, and it is shown how the length, base area, and volume of the rivulet on the permeable part of the membrane depend on the physical properties of the system. In particular, whereas there is a physically realizable pendant rivulet solution only if the semiwidth does not exceed a critical value, there are physically realizable sessile and vertical rivulet solutions for all values of the semiwidth; moreover, a sessile rivulet with fixed semiwidth has a finite maximum possible length which is attained in the limit of a wide rivulet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104003
Number of pages20
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021


  • gravity driven flow
  • rivulet flow
  • permeable membranes


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