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High-speed video reveals the complexity of fluid instabilities leading to atomization–the breakup of a liquid sheet into droplets. A thin annular liquid sheet is sandwiched between concentric air streams. As the velocity of the air on either side of the liquid sheet varies, shear forces cause the sheet to develop waves that result in mushroom-like shapes that break down into ligaments and droplets. Quick breakup into droplets is important in many applications, most notably combustion, where the size and dispersal of fuel droplets affects the efficiency of an engine. (Video credit: D. Duke, D. Honnery, and J. Soria)

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