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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Jul 19;111(3):036001. Epub 2013 Jul 19.

Capillary breakup of discontinuously rate thickening suspensions.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hatsopoulos Microfluids Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Using discontinuously rate thickening suspensions (DRTS) as a model system, we show that beads-on-a-string morphologies can arise as a result of external viscous drag acting during capillary-driven breakup of a non-Newtonian fluid. To minimize the perturbative effect of gravity, we developed a new experimental test platform in which the filament is supported in a horizontal position at the surface of an immiscible oil bath. We show that the evolution of thin DRTS filaments during the capillary thinning process is well described by a set of one-dimensional slender filament equations. The strongly rate-dependent rheology of the test fluid and the aspect ratio of the filament couple to control the thinning dynamics and lead to a simple criterion describing the localized arrest of the capillary thinning process and the subsequent formation of complex, high aspect ratio beads-on-a-string structures.

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