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Chemical Engineeting Science, 1974, Vol. 29, pp. 3%3%.

Pergamon Press.

Printed in Great Britain

FREE COATING OF A NEWTONIAN LIQUID


ONTO A VERTICAL SURFACE
R. P. SPIERS, C. V. SUBBARAMAN
and W. L. WILKINSON
Schools of Chemical Engineering, University of Bradford, Bradford 7, Yorkshire, England
(Received 19 March 1973; accepted 10 July 1973)
Abstract-The
entrainment of Newtonian liquid films onto a vertical surface which is continuously
withdrawn from a bath of the liquid is considered. A new theoretical treatment is presented which is
significantly different from previous theories and which predicts accurately the relationship between
the dimensionless thickness parameter, T,, and the Capillary Number, Ca, up to a value of Cu of 2.
Experimental results have been obtained using a capacitance technique for film thickness measurement for a variety of Newtonian fluids with viscosities ranging from 0406 to 24% N. set m-*.

I/

1. INTRODUCTION

The application of liquid coatings to solid surfaces


is a problem of considerable practical significance,
notably in industries concerned with the application

-L

3 -

RapionI

Fig. I. Protile of a liquid film adhering to a vertical moving surface.

1. This is

region

of the liquid in the bath where the film thickness becomes constant at ho, and in which only viscous and
gravity forces are involved.
Region 2. This is normally referred to as the
dynamic meniscus region in which the film thickness, h, varies with height above the bath, x, and in
which viscous, gravity and surface tension forces
have all to be taken into account.
Region 3. In this region, close to the surface of
the bath, flow effects can be neglected to a first
approximation
and only surface tension forces
considered.

from the
389

R. P.

390

SPIERS,

C. V.

SUBBARAMAN,

If we first consider the flat film in Region 1 then


the relevant equation of motion for a Newtonian
fluid of viscosity, p, and density, p, is simply:
d2u
cL&-r-Pg=O
and by using boundary

W. L.

WILKINSON

on the application of free drainage theory to the


withdrawal problem, when only viscous and gravity
forces are involved. Groenveld [4] has also obtained
solutions based on an empirical estimate of the position of the stagnation point at the surface in Region
2.

conditions:
3. THEORETICAL

(i) y=O;u=U
(ii) y = ho; (duldy)

(2)
=0

the liquid flux, q, can be easily shown to be given


by:
q=

Uhn(l-!g).

This is not helpful in the prediction of either q or


ho since neither are known and an additional constraint has to be invoked which relates to the flow
situation either above or below the constant thickness region in order that the problem may be
solved.
Landau and Levich [l] obtained a solution by
matching the curvatures of the free surface at the
extremities of the dynamic meniscus region. Their
result, which is only applicable to low speed withdrawal since the gravity force was neglected in Region 2, may be written in the form:
T,, = 0.944Ca 6

(4)

TREATMENT

Whereas the gravity corrected theory of White


and Tallmadge[2] claims good agreement with experimental results up to a Capillary Number of 2,
there are significant departures from this theory for
values of Ca as low as 0.01. The probable explanation for this discrepancy
is that White and
Tallmadge used an incorrect approximation to the
normal stress at the free surface in the dynamic
meniscus region. The modified treatment presented
below incorporates a more realistic boundary condition which was recently used by Williamson [5] in
a study of the separation of two tapes bonded by a
viscous liquid. This results in a relationship between To and Ca which agrees accurately with experimental data for a variety of Newtonian liquids
up to a Capillary Number of 2.
The film is considered in three regions as before,
but the dynamic meniscus region will be considered
in detail here, and the surface matching procedure
will be used. By neglecting inertia effects and considering one-dimensional
flow, the Navier-Stokes
equations reduce to:

where To, a dimensionless thickness, is a ratio of


gravitational to viscous forces and is defined by:

and Ca, the capillary number, is a ratio of viscous


forces to surface tension forces and is defined by:
Co

=cL

(f-9

The boundary
are:

conditions

for the flow in Region 2

(i) u(x, 0) = U

CT

where (T is the surface tension of the liquid.


The gravitational force was included in Region 2
in the gravity-corrected
theory of White and
Tallmadge[2] who also used the surface matching
procedure to obtain the following relationship between To and Ca:

(ii) The tangential

(S)
stress at the free surface:
@ii)

y = h(x), l/2(7, - r,,)sin 28 + 7Xycos 28 = 0


and (iii) the normal stress at the free surface:
Y = h(x),
p + r,, sin 0 + 7YY
cos 28 + r,, sin 28 = p. - g

(7)
This result reduces to the Landau-Levich
equation for low speed withdrawal, i.e. where both Ca
and To approach zero, (say Ca < OeOl), and for high
values of Ca (say Cu > lo), it reduces to To = 1,
which is the result obtained by Deryagin[3] based

@iii)
where the stresses on the atmospheric side of the
interface are considered negligible compared to
those in the fluid, 0 is the angle between the normal
to the surface and the y-axis, and R is the radius of
curvature of the free surface.

Free coating of a Newtonian liquid onto a vertical surface


For consistency with the Reynolds approximation in the dynamic meniscus region, we also require that:
(10)
Taking the atmospheric pressure, po, to be zero,
the boundary conditions (9ii) and (9iii) become respectively:
dx,h)=O=-p#x,h)
P+?Y=-u&7

It should be noted that the strain-rate term, the


second term in Eq. (16) is comparable in magnitude
to the other terms and may not be neglected. If it is
omitted, Eq. (16) reduces to that considered by
White and Tallmadge [2]; boundary condition (14)
also reduces to that used by White and Tallmadge.
By introducing the two further dimensionless
variables.
L = h/h,
(17)

du

(lli)

dh

(llii)

The familiar result given by Eq. (3) for the liquid


flux, q, in the constant film thickness region is obtained by the solution of Eq. (8) with boundary conditions (9i) and (1 li), the normal stress, Eq. (1 lii) reducing to zero for the flat free surface.
Assuming dp ldx -S pg, Eq. (8) may be integrated
using boundary conditions (9i) and (1 li):
dP 3~
~=jp
Uh-q-T
(

391

mh3
>

(12)

and again using Ca and To, Eq. (16) may be written


in the form:
$-

(3Ca).(l-

To2/3)$

(+

g)

++(L-l+T,,(l-L3)/3)=0.

(18)

Equation (18) may be integrated numerically


using the starting value procedure outlined by
Landau and Levich[lJ with the boundary conditions:

and
L=l,
u = U+3(;

-+)(?&

hy).

$0

(13)
at a position

The pressure gradient


from boundary condition
tonian fluid becomes:

may be obtained, also,


(llii) which, for a New-

well above the meniscus region. The


third boundary condition required by the Landau
and Levich solution is given by:
dL
v+Oas

&=-p

-2p$(x,

h).

L+m

(14)
and

(19)

The last term, au/%x(x, h), may be obtained from


Eq. (13), noting that:
where /3 is a numerical constant. However, if we
integrate Eq. (18) directly, the Landau and Levich
boundary condition is impossible to apply as:

giving:
$x,h)=-&$

(15)

Differentiating Eq. (14) with respect to x, equating with the pressure gradient of Eq. (12) and substituting Eq. (15), we obtain:
dh
w-3p+($$)+~(Uh-q-$=0.
(16)

and hence
d2L
G+mas

L+m.

We therefore linearize Eq. (18), introducing L =


1 + Q where c is a small quantity, following White

392

R. P. SPIERS.C. V. SUBBARAMAN,
W. L. WILKINSON

and Tallmadge [2]. We also introduce the change of


variable:
x = [(l - To2).
Equation

(18) becoming:

(20)

The result is similar to that derived by White and


Tallmadge[2] except that in their derivation a degenerates to a constant, as seen from Eq. (7). The
relationship between T, and Ca may be computed
from Eq. (25) using values of a obtained by numerical integration of Eq. (20). This was carried aut
using a fourth order Runge-Kutta method with the
starting value procedure of Landau and Levich[l]
and the following limiting boundary conditions:
dL
d*L
L+f,--O,--_z+Oas~+~.

dx

It may be seen that, omitting the second term, the


strain rate term at the fluid-air interface, Eq. (20) is
identical in form to that obtained by Landau and
Levich[l].
dL L -1
--$+7=0.

Table 1. Comparison of theories

Integration of Eq. (21) is found to satisfy boundary condition (19), and Eq. (20) is also found to
satisfy it. We may then apply the curvature matching procedure of Landau and Levich which requires that the curvature of the free surface is continuous from the constant film thickness region to
the static meniscus region.
From Eq. (20) we can find the limit of the second
derivative at the lower limit of the dynamic meniscus region where it merges with the static meniscus
region in the form:
dZL
m -@ = cu(Ca, To).

Further, in the static meniscus


from capillary statics that:

(22)

$4

(23)

Eq. (23) with the boundary

m as x + 0, and

following

condition

Landau

and

Levich, it can be shown, using the above notation,


that:
lirn d=L d2
L + 1 1 = Y To(1 - TuZ)-23Ca-b. (24)

dx

Continuity of the second derivative is then ensured by equating the limits given by Eqs. (22) and
(24) from which we obtain:
To =

Ca

TO

ToC2'

OGol
0.003
0.006
0.01
0.03
0.06
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.6
1.0

0.2829
0.3322
0.3663
0.3926
0.4525
0.4920
0.5215
0.5617
0.5852
0.6246
0.6530

0.2839
0.3346
0.3702
0.3984
0.4651
0.5120
0.5494
0.6043
0.6387
0.7008
0.7480

;:;
4.0
8:;

0.7107
0.6900
0.7249
0.7575
0.7443

0.8455
0.8108
0.8686
0.9155
0.8973

10-o

0.7674

0.9280

region, we have

$/[l+($r]112=5.
Integrating

Further details of the numerical methods employed are given in the Appendix. The result for To
as a function of Ca is given in tabular form in Table
1, and is shown graphically in Figs. 3-7, where it is

(21)

dx

L lim

(26)

dx

(Ca, To)(1 - To2)23


Ca 6.

(25)

(1) Theory of White and Tallmadge[2], Eq. (7).


(2) New theory, given by Eq. (25).
compared with experimental results and the previous theories of Landau and Levich[l], and White
and Tallmadge [23.
4. EXPERIMENTAL
PROGRAMME
Experimental results have been obtained on a
range of Newtonian fluids using the apparatus
illustrated in Fig 2. The equipment consisted of two
20 cm dia pulleys over which a 5 cm wide thin brass
belt was stretched. The belt was drawn through a
bath of fluid by driving the lower pulley by means
of a variable speed motor. The thickness of the liquid film in the constant thickness region was measured by two non-contact
capacitance
probes
situated on each side of the belt, a procedure which

393

Free coating of a Newtonian liquid onto a vertical surface

Table 2. Experimental

Capacitance
_j_p_ro,bee

Roller to remove

Voriable
speed
drive

eliminates errors due to the inevitable small lateral


movements
of the belt. The probes measure the
combined
air gaps at each side of the belt from
which the liquid film thickness can be easily found.

A calibration rig showed that film thicknesses down


to 25 pm could be measured to an accuracy better
than 2 pm. This measurement
technique is also
useful for the detection of ripples which can give
rise to serious errors with the contact micrometer
technique which has been widely used in the past.
The film of fluid on the inside of the belt was removed by a roller, rather than by using a scraper,
which returns the fluid to the bath, since the latter
arrangement can give rise to significant errors due
to disturbance of the liquid surface by the returning
liquid. The size of the bath and the liquid depth
were sufficiently large to avoid effects on the liquid
film.
Some 21 Newtonian fluids, listed in Table 2 were
used in the work, 10 being glycerol/water solutions,
5 sugar solutions and 6 hydrocarbon oils. The viscosity range was from 0.006 to 2.06 N.sec m-*. Surface tensions and densities were measured
fluid used. The experimental programme

Solution

No.

Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water
Glycerol-water

0.0180

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

0.0195
0.0280
0.0648
0.1695
0.0628
0.0156
0.0097
0.0062
06408

for each

was designed to give data over a large range of values of


Cu from 0.003 to 18.

N.s!m.

1I
12

Syrup-water
Syrup-water
Syrup-water
Syrup-water
Syrup-water

13
14
15

0.1302
0.0980
0.0830
0~0500
0.0220

Liquid Paraffin-I
Liquid Paraffin-II

16
17

0.1695
0.1932

Lubricating
Lubricating
Lubricating
Lubricating

18
19
20
21

0.1318
0.2115
0.7712
2.0580

Sugar
Sugar
Sugar
Sugar
Sugar

5.

Fig. 2. Outline of coating apparatus.

fluids

Oil I
Oil II
Oil III
Oil IV

DISCUSSION

OF RESULTS

The results are presented graphically in Figs. 3-6


by plotting the dimensionless thickness parameter,
T,,, against the Capillary Number, Ca. Fig 3 shows
the range of experimental data obtained in the present work for the fluids listed in Table 2. Figure 4
covers the glycerol/water solutions, Fig. 5 the sugar
solutions and Fig. 6 a range of hydrocarbon oils.
The results of the theoretical treatment presented
here, and the theoretical predictions of White and
Tallmadge[2], and Landau and Levich[l] are also
shown. Figure 7 shows a comparison of these three
theories with earlier experimental results obtained
by van Rossum[6], Gutfinger [7], and Soroka[8].
These data were obtained from continuous belt apparatus similar to that used in the present work, except for the use of a micrometer to measure the
final film thickness.
It is seen that the modified theory agrees very
closely with the experimental data up to a value of
Cu of about 2. For greater values of Ca it is seen
that T,, becomes nearly constant. The same effect
can be observed in the results of Gutfinger[7] and
Soroka[8]. The former, particularly, exhibit considerable scatter. Gutfinger measured the film thickness four times for each speed, while Soroka made
between six and ten measurements depending on
the reproducibility.
Van Rossum, however, meas-

394

R. P. SPIERS, C. V. SUBBARAMAN,W. L. WILKINSON

-Tallmadge

Fig. 3. Comparison of present experimental results with theoretical predictions-data

II
0

Symbol

12
A

I3
l

14
A

I5
0

Fig. 4. Comparison of sugar solution results with theoretical predictions.

0.9
9
6-5

I
co
I

e*

t.0

Landau-Levich

0.6
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3

Fluid
Symbol0

2 3 4 5 6 7 6 9 IO
l q A 4 v v l o o

0.2

Fig. 5. Comparison of glycerol solution results with theoretical predictions.

for all fluids.

Free coating of a Newtonian liquid onto a vertical surface

395

I
0.9

0.6

3;

0.7

O-6
P

0.5

,I
tz

04

16
17
lcJ.arv.

0.3

18

19

20

21

02

Fig. 6. Comparison of hydrocarbon oil results with theoretical predictions.

.
0.9t

0.6

C&L!
Q

Fig. 7. Comparison of previous experimental work with theoretical predictions.

ured the film thickness

twenty times for each withdrawal speed, and his results, though very few,
agree will with the present theory at low Capillary
Numbers. It is worthwhile to point out that the present work was attempted initially with a micrometer similar to that of Gutfinger, and Soroka. Using
this technique we experienced many of the difficulties encountered by Gutfinger[7] these being:
(i) the accurate measurement of thin films,
(ii) the inaccuracy caused by the inevitable lateral movements of the belt , and
(iii) the formation of surface waves, particularly
as the speed increased.
The experimental set-up used here reduces these
difficulties considerably, yielding accurate, reproducible data for a wide range of Newtonian liquids.
A similar range of experimental data obtained by
Groenveld[9] also showed a levelling off but at
lower values of Cu. This may be due to the experimental arrangement since a large rotating disc was

used and not a vertical belt. His data are not, therefore, compared with the present theory.
The discrepancy between the theory and experiment at high values of Cu is to be expected since
the assumption of one-dimensional
flow in the
meniscus region is no longer valid, and capillary
statics no longer adequately describe the shape of
the film near to the bath surface. For many problems of industrial interest this limitation is unlikely
to be serious.
6. CONCLUSIONS

The modified
gravity-corrected
withdrawal
theory gives predictions which are significantly
different from previous treatments and accurately
predicts the relationship between TO and Cu for
Newtonian fluids up to a value of Ca of about 2.
The experimental
techniques used in this work
have been shown to be capable of higher accuracy
than those previously used for studies of the withdrawal problem.

3%

R. P. SPIERS, C. V. SUBBARAMAN,W. L. WILKINSON


NOTATION
Ca

it

ha
L
P
4
R

TO

;
x
Y

capillary number, 0CLU


gravitational acceleration, m.sec-*
film thickness, m
final constant film thickness, m
dimensionless film thickness, h/ho
pressure, N.m-*
volumetric flow rate/unit belt width,
m.sec-
radius of curvature of free surface, m
dimensionless final film thickness, ho
(PglPW
velocity, m.sec-
belt velocity, m.sec-
co-ordinate direction parallel to belt,
m
co-ordinate direction perpendicular
to belt, m

Greek symbols

limiting constant curvature defined


by Eq. (22)
limiting numerical constant defined
by Eq. (1%
a small number
small starting value for integration of
Equation (20)
viscosity, N.sec m.-*
density, kg. m.-
surface tension, N.m.-
angular orientation of free surface
stress components, N.m.?
co-ordinate,
dimensionless
x
$ (3 cu)3
transformed
T:)
dimensionless
dimensionless

[lo] FOX L., Numerical Solution of Ordinary and Partial


Differential Equations, Pergamon Press, Oxford
1962.
[I 1] WHITE D. A., Ph.D. Thesis, Yale University 1%5.

APPENDIX
NUMERICAL SOLUTION OF EQ. (20)
As the limiting boundary conditions given by Eq. (26)
for Eq. (20) are not suitable for the numerical integration
of the latter, we choose some position above the bath such
that:
L=l+E
(Al-l)
d2L

-=e

dx

where e is a small parameter. These are the starting values of Landau and Levich[l]. It should also be noted that
an origin is not uniquely defined for Eq. (20) and we are
thus free to choose it such that the boundary conditions
(Al-l) are given at x = 0. We may then let x decrease
through the numerical integration. The Merson version of
the fourth order Runge-Kutta method[lO] was used,
enabling the error at each step and the accumulated error
to be examined as the integration proceeded.
To perform the integration it is necessary to select suitable values of l and Ax,, the initial step length. Values of
l and AX, were therefore varied over a twenty fold range,
keeping Ax,/r constant. Little variation was found in the
final value of a. This is in contrast to the second order
method employed by White and Tallmadge[2], details of
which are given by White [ 111,where extrapolation to zero
step length was required to obtain a. The final values for
e and AX, chosen were:
AX, = 5 x lo-
(Al-2)
6 = 5 x lo-
Because the initial steps of the integration need to be

co-ordinate,

&(l-

integration step length


initial step length

accurate

dL. 1 a small step length is required. This


( dx
>
condition may, however, be relaxed as the integration proceeds without giving rise to large step errors. The continuous variation, as given by White [ 1l] was used
Ax,+, = 1.01 Axi

REFERENCES

HI LANDAU L. and LEVICH B., Acta Phys. LJRSS


1942 17 41.
I21 WHITE D. A. and TALLMADGE J. A., C&m.
Engng Sci. 1%5 20 33.
131DERYAGIN B. V., Do/d. Akad. Nauk. SSSR 1943
39 11.
[41 GROENVELD P., Chem. Engng Sci. 1970 25 1259.
151WILLIAMSON A. S., J. Fluid Me&. 1972 52 639.
WI VAN ROSSUM J. J., Appl. Scient. Res. 1958 A7 121.
C. and TALLMADGE
J. A.,
171GUTFINGER
A.I.ChE. JI 1965 11 403.
181SOROKA A. J. and TALLMADGE J. A., A.LCh.E.
n 1971 17 505.
[91 GROENVELD P., Chem. Engng Sci. 1970 25 33.

(Al-3)

The use of the variation leads to a considerable reduction in the overall computation time compared to the use
of a fixed step length. It was found that approximately 500
steps were required to achieve a constant second derivative $$

to within an overall error of ? 10m6.Individual

step dkors were generally many orders of magnitude


smaller.
The new theory, Eq. (25), may then be evaluated, at
fixed Ca, using polynomial interpolation to find (Y(T~).A
simple search procedure was used in this evaluation as
this avoids

the use of derivatives

Newton-Raphson

techniques.

to find s

for