On the stability of liquid ridges
Roy RV, Schwartz LW
Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 391: 293-318 JUL 25 1999

We consider the stability of a rectilinear liquid region whose boundary is composed of a solid cylindrical substrate of arbitrary shape and a free surface whose cross-section, in the absence of gravity, is a circular arc. The liquid-solid contact angle is a prescribed material property. A variational technique, using an energy functional, is developed that predicts the minimum wavelength for transverse instability under the action of capillarity. Conversely, certain configurations are absolutely stable and a simple stability criterion is derived. Stability is guaranteed if, for given substrate geometry and given contact angle, the unperturbed meniscus pressure is an increasing function of the liquid cross-sectional area. The analysis is applied to a variety of liquid/substrate configurations including (i) a liquid ridge with contact lines pinned to the sharp edges of a slot or groove, (ii) liquid ridges with free contact lines on flat and wedge-shaped substrates as well as substrates of circular or elliptical cross-section. Results are consistent with special cases previously treated including those that employ a slope-small-slope approximation.