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The role of inertia in extensional fall of a viscous drop

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 January 2004

Y. M. STOKES
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Adelaide, Australia
E. O. TUCK
Affiliation:
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Adelaide, Australia

Abstract

In flows of very viscous fluids, it is often justifiable to neglect inertia and solve the resulting creeping-flow or Stokes equations. For drops hanging beneath a fixed wall and extending under gravity from an initial rest state, an inevitable consequence of neglect of inertia and surface tension is that the drop formally becomes infinite in length at a finite crisis time, at which time the acceleration of the drop, which has been assumed small relative to gravity $g$, formally also becomes infinite. This is a physical impossibility, and the acceleration must in fact approach the (finite) free-fall value $g$. However, we verify here, by a full Navier–Stokes computation and also with a slender-drop approximation, that the crisis time is a good estimate of the time at which the bulk of the drop goes into free fall. We also show that the drop shape at the crisis time is a good approximation to the final shape of the freely falling drop, prior to smoothing by surface tension. Additionally, we verify that the drop has an initial acceleration of $g$, which quickly decreases as viscous forces in the drop become dominant during the early stages of fall.

Type
Papers
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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