Post-pinch-off relaxation of two-dimensional droplets in a Hele-Shaw cell

Dhirendra Tiwari*, Lionel Mercury, Marcel Dijkstra, Himanshu Chaudhary, José Federico Hernández-Sánchez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the shape relaxation of two-dimensional (2D) droplets, formed right after the spontaneous pinch-off of a capillary bridge droplet confined within a Hele-Shaw cell. An array of bridge droplets confined within a microchip device first undergoes neck thinning due to the evaporation-driven volume change. Subsequently, an abrupt topological change transforms each bridge droplet into a small central satellite droplet and the twin droplets pinned at the edges of the cell. We monitor the shape relaxation with high-temporal-resolution optical microscopy. Capillary action drives the 2D shape relaxation, while the viscous dissipation in the film retards it. As a result, the tip of the twin droplets exhibits a self-similar parabolic shape evolution. Based on these observations, the lubrication-approximation model accurately predicts the internal pressure evolution and the droplet tip displacement. The geometrical confinement substantially slows down the dynamics, facilitating visualization of the capillary-viscous regime, even for low-viscosity liquids. The characteristic relaxation timescale shows an explicit dependence on the confinement ratio (width/gap) and the capillary velocity of liquid. We verify the broad applicability of the model using different liquids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124202
JournalPhysical review fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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