Phenomena

Dripping, Frozen

The simple drip of a faucet is more complicated when frozen in time. Any elongated strand of water tends to break up into droplets due to surface tension and the Plateau-Rayleigh instability. Whenever the radius of the water column shrinks, surface tension tends to drive water away from the narrow region and toward a wider point. This exaggerates the profile, making narrow regions skinnier and wider regions fatter. Eventually, the neck connecting the droplets becomes so thin that it pinches off completely, leaving a string of falling droplets.  (Image credit: N. Sharp)

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