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Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 181939, 6 pages
Research Article

Numerical Investigation of the Steady State of a Driven Thin Film Equation

Centre for Differential Equations, Continuum Mechanics and Applications, School of Computational and Applied Mathematics, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits Johannesburg 2050, South Africa

Received 6 November 2012; Accepted 29 December 2012

Academic Editor: Mehmet Pakdemirli

Copyright © 2013 A. J. Hutchinson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A third-order ordinary differential equation with application in the flow of a thin liquid film is considered. The boundary conditions come from Tanner's problem for the surface tension driven flow of a thin film. Symmetric and nonsymmetric finite difference schemes are implemented in order to obtain steady state solutions. We show that a central difference approximation to the third derivative in the model equation produces a solution curve with oscillations. A difference scheme based on a combination of forward and backward differences produces a smooth accurate solution curve. The stability of these schemes is analysed through the use of a von Neumann stability analysis.