A sticky situation

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1 Scopus citations


The whirling helical structure obtained when pouring honey onto toast may seem like an easy enough problem to solve at breakfast. Specifically, one would hope that a quick back-of-the-envelope scaling argument would help rationalize the observed behaviour and predict the coiling frequency. Not quite: Multiple forces come into play, both in the part of the flow stretched by gravity and in the coil itself, which buckles and bends like a rope. In fact, the resulting abundance of regimes requires the careful numerical continuation method reported by Ribe (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 812, 2017, R2) to build a complete phase diagram of the problem and untangle this sticky situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 10 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Instability
  • interfacial flows (free surface)
  • nonlinear dynamical systems


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