A computer-controlled four-roll mill is used to examine two transient modes of deformation of a liquid drop: elongation in a steady flow and interfacial-tension-driven motion which occurs after the flow is stopped abruptly. For modest extensions, drop breakup does not occur with the flow on, but may occur following cessation of the flow as a result of deterministic motions associated with internal pressure gradients established by capillary forces. These relaxation and breakup phenomena depend on the initial drop shape and the relative viscosities of the two fluids. Capillary-wave instabilities at the fluid-fluid interface are observed only for highly elongated drops. This study is a natural extension of G. I. Taylor's original studies of the deformation and burst of droplets in well-defined flow fields.
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