Experiments on laminar film flow along a periodic wall
Experimental results are reported on the structure of gravity-driven film flow along an inclined periodic wall with rectangular corrugations. A fluorescence imaging method is used to capture the evolution of film height in space and time with accuracy of a few microns. The steady flow is found to exhibit a statically deformed free surface, as predicted by previous asymptotic and numerical studies. Though usually unstable, its characteristics determine much of the subsequent non-stationary dynamics. Travelling disturbances are observed to evolve into solitary multi-peaked humps, and pronounced differences from the respective phenomena along a flat wall are noted. Finally, a remarkable stabilization of the flow at high Reynolds numbers is documented, which proceeds through the development of a three-dimensional flow structure and leads to a temporary decrease in film thickness and recession of solitary waves.