Liquid Helix: How Capillary Jets Adhere to Vertical Cylinders

E. Jambon-Puillet*, W. Bouwhuis, J. H. Snoeijer, D. Bonn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


From everyday experience, we all know that a solid edge can deflect a liquid flowing over it significantly, up to the point where the liquid completely sticks to the solid. Although important in pouring, printing, and extrusion processes, there is no predictive model of this so-called "teapot effect." By grazing vertical cylinders with inclined capillary liquid jets, here we use the teapot effect to attach the jet to the solid and form a new structure: the liquid helix. Using mass and momentum conservation along the liquid stream, we first quantitatively predict the shape of the helix and then provide a parameter-free inertial-capillary adhesion model for the jet deflection and critical velocity for helix formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number184501
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019


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