Motion and shape of a viscoelastic drop falling through a viscous fluid

Michael C. Sostarecz, Andrew Belmonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The steady shape of a drop of dilute polymer solution falling through a quiescent viscous Newtonian fluid is considered. Experimentally, we find that an immiscible drop of 0.16% xanthan gum in 80:20 glycerol/water falling through 9.8 P polydimethylsiloxane oil may exhibit a stable dimple at its trailing edge. At higher volumes the dimple extends far into the interior of the drop, and pinches off via a Rayleigh-type instability, injecting oil droplets into the polymer drop. At even larger volumes, a toroidal shape develops. We show that the dimpled shape can be reproduced mathematically with axisymmetric solutions for Stokes flow past a non-Newtonian drop, using the constitutive equation for a Simple Fluid of Order Three.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Dec 25 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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