Abstract

We consider closed immersed surfaces in R^3 evolving by the geometric triharmonic heat flow. Using local energy estimates, we prove interior estimates and a positive absolute lower bound on the lifespan of solutions depending solely on the local concentration of curvature of the initial immersion in L^2. We further use an {\epsilon}regularity type result to prove a gap lemma for stationary solutions. Using a monotonicity argument, we then prove that a blowup of the flow approaching a singular time is asymptotic to a nonumbilic embedded stationary surface. This allows us to conclude that any solution with initial L^2norm of the tracefree curvature tensor smaller than an absolute positive constant converges exponentially fast to a round sphere with radius equal to the cube root of 3V_0/4{\pi}, where V_0 denotes the signed enclosed volume of the initial data.