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‘Gobbling drops’: the jetting–dripping transition in flows of polymer solutions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2009

Departement Chemische Ingenieurstechnieken, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (PMMH), CNRS UMR7636, ESPCI-ParisTech, Univ. Paris 6, Univ. Paris 7, 75005 Paris, France
Institute for Problems in Mechanics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119526 Russia
Hatsopoulos Microfluids Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA


This paper discusses the breakup of capillary jets of dilute polymer solutions and the dynamics associated with the transition from dripping to jetting. High-speed digital video imaging reveals a new scenario of transition and breakup via periodic growth and detachment of large terminal drops. The underlying mechanism is discussed and a basic theory for the mechanism of breakup is also presented. The dynamics of the terminal drop growth and trajectory prove to be governed primarily by mass and momentum balances involving capillary, gravity and inertial forces, whilst the drop detachment event is controlled by the kinetics of the thinning process in the viscoelastic ligaments that connect the drops. This thinning process of the ligaments that are subjected to a constant axial force is driven by surface tension and resisted by the viscoelasticity of the dissolved polymeric molecules. Analysis of this transition provides a new experimental method to probe the rheological properties of solutions when minute concentrations of macromolecules have been added.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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This paper is dedicated to the memory of Vladimir M. Entov (1937–2008)


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