Experimental study of coating flows in a partially-filled horizontally rotating cylinder

S. T. Thoroddsen*, L. Mahadevan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


We describe a number of different phenomena seen in the free-surface flow inside a partially filled circular cylinder which is rotated about its horizontal axis of symmetry. At low angular velocities the flow settles into a steady two-dimensional flow with a front where the coating film coalesces with the pool at the bottom of the cylinder. This mode becomes unstable at higher angular velocities, initially to a sloshing mode on the rising side of the coating film and then to an axial instability on the front. The undulations that appear on the front grow into large-amplitude stationary patterns with cusp-like features for some parameter values. At still higher angular velocities and volume fractions, a number of different inertial instabilities and patterns appear. We present a phase diagram of the various transitions and characterize some of the more prominent instabilities and patterns in detail, along with some possible mechanisms for the observed behaviour.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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