Fluid-dynamical model for antisurfactants

Justin J. A. Conn, Brian R. Duffy, David Pritchard, Stephen K. Wilson, Peter J. Halling, Khellil Sefiane

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We construct a fluid-dynamical model for the flow of a solution with a free surface at which surface tension acts. This model can describe both classical surfactants, which decrease the surface tension of the solution relative to that of the pure solvent, and ‘anti-surfactants’ (such as many salts when added to water, and small amounts of water when added to alcohol) which increase it. We demonstrate the utility of the model by considering the linear stability of an infinitely deep layer of initially quiescent fluid. In particular, we predict the occurrence of a novel instability driven by surface-tension gradients, which occurs for anti-surfactant, but not for surfactant, solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number043121
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2016


  • fluid dynamical model
  • surfactants
  • anti-surfactants
  • solutions
  • surface tension

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