Pelekasis N.A., Economou K., Tsamopoulos J.A.
Small amplitude oscillations of viscous, capillary bridges are studied in the presence of an electric dc field. The electric field is proposed as a means to maintain bridges longer than their perimeter and of uniform cylindrical shape. This is desired in the fabrication of semiconductor crystals. The material of the bridge and the surrounding medium is modeled either as a perfect or as a leaky dielectric. The frequency and the damping rate of the oscillations are calculated numerically by solving a generalized eigenvalue problem. It is shown that they depend on the ratios of the dielectric constants, ε = εin/εout, and conductivities, S = σin/σout, of the two materials, the aspect ratio of the bridge, Λ = πR̃/L̃, the ratio of viscous to the capillary force, Oh = Re-1, which can also be viewed as the inverse Reynolds number of the flow, and, finally, the electrical Bond number, C2l, which is the ratio of the electric stresses to the capillary force. The stability limit of an initially cylindrical bridge is determined with respect to varicose disturbances. In agreement with previous studies it is shown that, if both materials are perfect dielectrics, application of an electric field has a stabilizing effect on the bridge, in the sense that the minimum value, Λmin, of the aspect ratio for the bridge to remain stable drops below 0.5, irrespective of the specific value of the ratio ε. If both materials are leaky dielectrics, bridge stability is determined by the sign of (S – ε) and (S – 1)(ε – 1), with the positive sign indicating bridge stabilization. The factor (S – ε) arises due to the appearance of a tangential electric stress in the perturbed state for leaky dielectrics. For both cases of leaky and perfect dielectrics, the most unstable mode is the one leading to amphora shaped bridges. It was also found that, when application of an electric field stabilizes the bridge, leaky dielectrics require a lower field than perfect dielectrics and that a large enough field tends to stabilize the bridge for almost the entire range of values of the aspect ratio Λ. These findings concur with earlier analytical results for the stability of jets in longitudinal electric fields and, in conjunction with certain experimental observations, point to the usefulness of the leaky dielectric model pertaining to the stability of bridges. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.