Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Relaxation and breakup of an initially extended drop in an otherwise quiescent fluid

H. A.  Stone a1p1 and L. G.  Leal a1
a1 Department of Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Article author query
stone ha   [Google Scholar] 
leal lg   [Google Scholar] 


In this paper we examine some general features of the time-dependent dynamics of drop deformation and breakup at low Reynolds numbers. The first aspect of our study is a detailed numerical investigation of the ‘end-pinching’ behaviour reported in a previous experimental study. The numerics illustrate the effects of viscosity ratio and initial drop shape on the relaxation and/or breakup of highly elongated droplets in an otherwise quiescent fluid. In addition, the numerical procedure is used to study the simultaneous development of capillary-wave instabilities at the fluid-fluid interface of a very long, cylindrically shaped droplet with bulbous ends. Initially small disturbances evolve to finite amplitude and produce very regular drop breakup. The formation of satellite droplets, a nonlinear phenomenon, is also observed.

(Published Online April 21 2006)
(Received September 30 1987)
(Revised June 24 1988)

p1 Present address: Division of Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.