Dripping into Droplets

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The Plateau-Rayleigh instability is one that just about everyone has witnessed. It describes how a liquid jet breaks up into droplets. Notice the waviness in the jet before breakdown. The tiniest curvature in the jet causes an imbalance in the liquid’s pressure due to surface tension. Because the system is unstable, any small changes will become larger, ultimately resulting in the jet breaking into droplets.

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