Periodic mass shedding of a retracting solid film step

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A semi-infinite, uniform film on a substrate tends to contract from the edge to reduce the surface energy of the system. This work studies the two-dimensional retraction of such a film step, assuming that the film evolves by capillarity-driven surface diffusion. It is found that the retracting film edge forms a thickened ridge followed by a valley. The valley sinks with time and eventually touches the substrate. The ridge then detaches from the film. The new film edge retracts to form another ridge accompanied again by a valley, and the mass shedding cycle is repeated. This periodic mass shedding is simulated numerically for contact angle α between 30 and 180°. For smaller α, a small-slope late-time solution is found that agrees with the numerical solution for α = 30°. Thus, the complete range of α is covered. The long-time retraction speed and the distance traveled per cycle agree quantitatively with experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1719-1728
Number of pages10
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 11 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys

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