3R39. Interfacial Instability. - LE Johns and R Narayanan (Dept of Chem Eng, Univ of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611). Springer-Verlag, New York. 2002. 346 pp. ISBN 0-387-95480-5. $79.95

Reviewed by P Griffith (Dept of Mech Eng, Rm 7-044, MIT, Cambridge MA 02139).

This is a unique reference book that addresses the problem of stability in the presence of surface forces. The effects of geometry and a variety of other forces, including those of viscosity, gravity, and rotation, are considered. The examples they have chosen are quite diverse. In addition to reviewing the classic problems, such as the stability of jets and the stability of a dense liquid over a less dense one, they have looked at the problem of the stability of interface shapes during solidification, precipitation, and electroplating. The approach taken is to describe the problem in physical terms first and then formulate it in mathematical terms before working out the results. The bulk of the book is concerned with the mathematical methods appropriate for these problems.

A number of pictures and line drawings are included that help to clarify what is being done. Though experiments are described and their results given, the focus of this work is on the formulation of the stability criterion and on the mathematics of working it out. It is not a handbook and does not pretend to be one. The physical significance of their results is discussed in every case, however.

The book starts with a review of Rayleigh’s classical work on the stability of liquid jets and continues by looking at the stability of liquid bridges in a variety of geometries. The effect of spinning on the stability of a liquid annulus is also considered. This leads into the stability of a dense liquid over a less dense one in a gravity field. They then turn their attention to a number of quite different problems, such as the stability of the shape of a surface on which precipitation is occurring, the stability of the shape of a casting as it cools, and the stability of the shape of an electrode when electrodeposition is occurring.

Given the wide variety of problems addressed, researchers and workers in a variety of fields should be interested in Interfacial Instability. At this very moment, there are certainly engineers and physical chemists working to improve processes that suffer from these instabilities. These processes are found where fibers are formed, salts are precipitated out of solution, batteries are recharged, and castings are made. These instabilities are often unrecognized and can frustrate their best efforts. Engineers and chemists working on products involving these processes need to know about this book, while researchers in schools and laboratories will be able to use it to identify worthwhile and challenging problems on which to work.