Taylor–Culick retractions and the influence of the surroundings

Vatsal Sanjay*, Uddalok Sen, Pallav Kant, Detlef Lohse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


When a freely suspended liquid film ruptures, it retracts spontaneously under the action of surface tension. If the film is surrounded by air, the retraction velocity is known to approach the constant Taylor–Culick velocity. However, when surrounded by an external viscous medium, the dissipation within that medium dictates the magnitude of the retraction velocity. In the present work, we study the retraction of a liquid (water) film in a viscous oil ambient (two-phase Taylor–Culick retractions), and that sandwiched between air and a viscous oil (three-phase Taylor–Culick retractions). In the latter case, the experimentally measured retraction velocity is observed to have a weaker dependence on the viscosity of the oil phase as compared with the configuration where the water film is surrounded completely by oil. Numerical simulations indicate that this weaker dependence arises from the localization of viscous dissipation near the three-phase contact line. The speed of retraction only depends on the viscosity of the surrounding medium and not on that of the film. From the experiments and the numerical simulations, we reveal unprecedented regimes for the scaling of the Weber number Wef of the film (based on its retraction velocity) or the capillary number Cas of the surroundings versus the Ohnesorge number Ohs of the surroundings in the regime of large viscosity of the surroundings (Ohs≫1), namely Wef∼Oh−2s and Cas∼Oh0s for the two-phase Taylor–Culick configuration, and Wef∼Oh−1s and Cas∼Oh1/2s for the three-phase Taylor–Culick configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA14
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date6 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022


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