Dripping With Particles

A viscoelastic fluid filled with 140 micron particles.

Adding just a little polymer to a fluid can make it viscoelastic and drastically change how it drips. A pure, viscoelastic fluid (left) necks down to a thin filament thanks to the polymers’ resistance to being stretched. But what happens when you add particles, too?

That’s the focus of this recent study, which adds particles of different sizes to dripping viscoelastic fluids. The researchers found that particles sped up how quickly the filament thinned and formed bead-like droplets. And larger particles (right) made the process even faster than small ones (middle), in experiments where the overall volume fraction of particles within the fluid matched. (Image and research credit: V. Thiévenaz and A. Sauret)

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