How Fast Do Holes Grow?

Taylor and Culick predicted a constant velocity for the rim of an opening hole in a soap film of uniform thickness. Unfortunately, it is difficult to experimentally produce a soap film of uniform thickness. It is much easier to create films of uniform thickness with liquid crystals in their smectic-A phase, in which the molecules are ordered in layers along a single direction. When smectic-A bubbles burst, however, it bears little resemblance to a soap bubble. Smectic-A bubbles burst spontaneously during oscillations, the holes in the film growing until a network of filaments is left behind. The filaments themselves will rapidly break up into droplets due to the Plateau-Rayleigh instability.  (Photo credit: R. Stannarius et al.)

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