Satellite and subsatellite formation in capillary breakup

M. Tjahjadi, J. M. Ottino, Howard A. Stone

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An investigation of the interfacial-tension-driven fragmentation of a very long fluid filament in a quiescent viscous fluid is presented. Experiments covering almost three orders of magnitude in viscosity ratio reveal as many as 19 satellite droplets in between the largest droplets; complementary boundary-integral calculations are used to study numerically the evolution of the filament as a function of the viscosity ratio of the fluids and the initial wavenumber of the interface perturbation. Satellite drops are generated owing to multiple breakup sequences around the neck region of a highly deformed filament. In low-viscosity ratio systems, p < 0(0.1), the breakup mechanism is self-repeating in the sense that every pinch-off is always associated with the formation of a neck, the neck undergoes pinch-off, and the process repeats. In general the agreement between computations and experiments is excellent; both indicate that the initial wavenumber of the disturbance is important in the quantitative details of the generated drop size distributions. However, these details are insignificant when compared with the large variations produced in the drop size distributions owing to variation in the viscosity ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-317
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Oct 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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