Black strings, low viscosity fluids, and violation of cosmic censorship

Luis Lehner, Frans Pretorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


We describe the behavior of 5-dimensional black strings, subject to the Gregory-Laflamme instability. Beyond the linear level, the evolving strings exhibit a rich dynamics, where at intermediate stages the horizon can be described as a sequence of 3-dimensional spherical black holes joined by black string segments. These segments are themselves subject to a Gregory-Laflamme instability, resulting in a self-similar cascade, where ever-smaller satellite black holes form connected by ever-thinner string segments. This behavior is akin to satellite formation in low-viscosity fluid streams subject to the Rayleigh-Plateau instability. The simulation results imply that the string segments will reach zero radius in finite asymptotic time, whence the classical space-time terminates in a naked singularity. Since no fine-tuning is required to excite the instability, this constitutes a generic violation of cosmic censorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101102
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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