Van der Waals-Zeeman Colloquium

Tuesday, 21 Nov 2006, 16:00h

Breaking drops, collapsing cavities, and dripping crystals

Prof. Jens Eggers
School of Mathematics, University of Bristol

When a drop falls from a faucet, the size of the fluid neck separating the drop from the nozzle goes to zero, producing very small length scales. Similar topological transitions play a crucial role for processes as diverse as spraying, printing, mixing, or polymer processing. The fluid motion close to the transition is self-similar, and is typically universal: it does not depend on initial conditions. Theoretical predictions have been verified in great detail, both experimentally and computationally. However, some cases have arisen recently, for which the approach to asymptotic behavior is exceedingly slow: break-up of a gas bubble and dripping of a 3He crystal. We will explain why.