Elastic Rayleigh-Plateau instability: Dynamical selection of nonlinear states

Anupam Pandey, Minkush Kansal, Miguel Angel Herrada, Jens G Eggers, Jacco H Snoeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


A slender thread of elastic hydrogel is susceptible to a surface instability that is reminiscent of the classical Rayleigh-Plateau instability of liquid jets. The final, highly nonlinear states that are ob- served in experiments arise from a competition between capillarity and large elastic deformations. Combining a slender analysis and fully three-dimensional numerical simulations, we present the phase map of all possible morphologies for an unstable neo-Hookean cylinder subjected to capillary forces. Interestingly, for softer cylinders we find the coexistence of two distinct configurations, namely, cylinders-on-a-string and beads-on-a-string. It is shown that for a given set of parameters, the final pattern is selected via a dynamical evolution. To capture this, we compute the dispersion relation and determine the characteristic wavelength of the dynamically selected profiles. The validity of the “slender" results is confirmed via simulations and these results are consistent with experiments on elastic and viscoelastic threads.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSoft Matter
Publication statusSubmitted - 14 Dec 2020

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