Self-similar breakup of polymeric threads as described by the Oldroyd-B model

J. Eggers*, M. A. Herrada, J. H. Snoeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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When a drop of fluid containing long, flexible polymers breaks up, it forms threads of almost constant thickness, whose size decreases exponentially in time. Using an Oldroyd-B fluid as a model, we show that the thread profile, rescaled by the thread thickness, converges to a similarity solution. Using the correspondence between viscoelastic fluids and nonlinear elasticity, we derive similarity equations for the full three-dimensional axisymmetric flow field in the limit that the viscosity of the solvent fluid can be neglected. Deriving a conservation law along the thread, we can calculate the stress inside the thread from a measurement of the thread thickness. The explicit form of the velocity and stress fields can be deduced from a solution of the similarity equations. Results are validated by detailed comparison with numerical simulations
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA19
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date28 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • capillary flows
  • polymers
  • drops


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