Shape dynamics and scaling laws for a body dissolving in fluid flow

Jinzi Mac Huang, M. Nicholas J. Moore, Leif Ristroph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While fluid flows are known to promote dissolution of materials, such processes are poorly understood due to the coupled dynamics of the flow and the receding surface. We study this moving boundary problem through experiments in which hard candy bodies dissolve in laminar high-speed water flows. We find that different initial geometries are sculpted into a similar terminal form before ultimately vanishing, suggesting convergence to a stable shape-flow state. A model linking the flow and solute concentration shows how uniform boundary-layer thickness leads to uniform dissolution, allowing us to obtain an analytical expression for the terminal geometry. Newly derived scaling laws predict that the dissolution rate increases with the square root of the flow speed and that the body volume vanishes quadratically in time, both of which are confirmed by experimental measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Feb 25 2015


  • boundary layers
  • geophysical and geological flows
  • mixing and dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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