The final stages of capillary break-up of polymer solutions

R. Sattler, S. Gier, J. Eggers, C. Wagner*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

70 Citations (Scopus)


The capillary break-up of a polymer solution evolves via a series of stages. After the initial instability a long-lived cylindrical filament is formed, which thins exponentially in time, while the flow is purely extensional. During the final stages of the thinning process, at which the polymers are stretched sufficiently for the filament to become unstable to a Rayleigh-Plateau-like instability, a complex flow pattern develops, which we describe here. Achieving a high spatial resolution well below the optical Rayleigh limit, we describe both the formation of individual droplets as well as that of periodic patterns. Following the periodic instability, a blistering pattern appears, with different generations of smaller droplets. At sufficiently high polymer concentrations, the filament does not break at all, but a solid polymeric fiber with a thickness well below a micron remains. The experiments were performed for various polymer and solvent systems, all of which showed the same qualitative behavior for most of the observed features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023101
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2012

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