Equatorial Streaming

Here you see a millimeter-sized droplet suspended in a fluid that is more electrically conductive than it. When exposed to a high DC electric field, the suspended drop begins to flatten. A thin rim of fluid extends from the drop’s midplane in an instability called “equatorial streaming”. As seen in the close-up animation, the rim breaks off the droplet into rings, which are themselves broken into micrometer-sized droplets thanks to surface tension. The result is that the original droplet is torn into a cloud of droplets a factor of a thousand smaller. This technique could be great for generating emulsions of immiscible liquids–think vinaigrette dressing but with less shaking! (Image credit: Q. Brosseau and P. Vlahovska, source)

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