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Published September 2016 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Thermodynamic coarsening arrested by viscous fingering in partially miscible binary mixtures


We study the evolution of binary mixtures far from equilibrium, and show that the interplay between phase separation and hydrodynamic instability can arrest the Ostwald ripening process characteristic of nonflowing mixtures. We describe a model binary system in a Hele-Shaw cell using a phase-field approach with explicit dependence of both phase fraction and mass concentration. When the viscosity contrast between phases is large (as is the case for gas and liquid phases), an imposed background flow leads to viscous fingering, phase branching, and pinch off. This dynamic flow disorder limits phase growth and arrests thermodynamic coarsening. As a result, the system reaches a regime of statistical steady state in which the binary mixture is permanently driven away from equilibrium.

Additional Information

© 2016 American Physical Society. Received 11 March 2016; published 20 September 2016. This work was funded by the US Department of Energy (CAREER Award DE-SC0003907, and Grants No. DE-SC0009286 and No. DE-FE0013999). L.C.F. acknowledges a 'Ramon y Cajal' Fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (RYC-2012-11704).

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Published - PhysRevE.94.033111.pdf

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August 20, 2023
October 20, 2023