The beads-on-string structure of viscoelastic threads

C Clasen, JG Eggers, MA Fontelos, J Li, GH McKinley

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

225 Citations (Scopus)


By adding minute concentrations of a high molecular weight polymer, liquid jets or bridges collapsing under the action of surface tension develop a characteristic shape of uniform threads connecting spherical fluid drops. In this paper, high-precision measurements of this beads-on-string structure are combined with a theoretical analysis of the limiting case of large polymer relaxation times, for which the evolution can be divided into two distinct regimes. This excludes the very late stages of the evolution, for which the polymers have become fully stretched. For times smaller than the polymer relaxation time, over which the beads-on-string structure develops, we give a simplified local description, which still contains the full complexity of the problem. At times much larger than the relaxation time, we show that the solution consists of exponentially thinning threads connecting almost spherical drops. Both experiment and theoretical analysis of a one-dimensional model equation reveal a self-similar structure of the corner where a thread is attached to the neighbouring drops.
Translated title of the contributionThe beads-on-string structure of viscoelastic threads
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283 - 308
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


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