Pinching threads, singularities and the number 0.0304

Michael P. Brenner, John R. Lister, Howard A. Stone

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121 Scopus citations


The dynamics of capillary pinching of a fluid thread are described by similarity solutions of the Navier-Stokes equations. Eggers [Phys. Rev. Lett. 71, 3458 (1993)] recently proposed a single universal similarity solution for a viscous thread pinching with an inertial-viscous-capillary balance in an inviscid environment. In this paper it is shown that there is actually a countably infinite family of such similarity solutions which are each an asymptotic solution to the Navier-Stokes equations. The solutions all have axial scale t′1/2 and radial scale t′, where t′ is the time to pinching. The solution obtained by Eggers appears to be special in that it is selected by the dynamics for most initial conditions by virtue of being less susceptible to finite-amplitude instabilities. The analogous problem of a thread pinching in the absence of inertia is also investigated and it is shown that there is a countably infinite family of similarity solutions with axial scale t′β and radial scale t′, where each solution has a different exponent β.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2827-2836
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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