Fingering instabilities of a reactive micellar interface

Thomas Podgorski, Michael C. Sostarecz, Sylvain Zorman, Andrew Belmonte

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Abstract

We present an experimental study of the fingering patterns in a Hele-Shaw cell occurring when a gel-like material forms at the interface between aqueous solutions of a cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) and an organic salt (salicylic acid), two solutions known to form a highly elastic wormlike micellar fluid when mixed homogeneously. A variety of fingering instabilities are observed, depending on the velocity of the front (the injection rate), and on which fluid is injected into which. We have found a regime of nonconfined stationary or wavy fingers for which width selection seems to occur without the presence of bounding walls, unlike the Saffman-Taylor experiment. Qualitatively, some of our observations share common mechanisms with instabilities of cooling lava flows or growing biofilms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number016202
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume76
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2007

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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