Control of jet breakup by a superposition of two Rayleigh-Plateau-unstable modes

Theo Driessen, Pascal Sleutel, Frits Dijksman, Roger Jeurissen, Detlef Lohse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We experimentally, numerically and theoretically demonstrate a novel method of producing a stream of widely spaced high-velocity droplets by imposing a superposition of two Rayleigh-Plateau-unstable modes on a liquid jet. The wavelengths of the two modes are chosen close to the wavelength of the most unstable mode. The interference pattern of the two superimposed modes causes local asymmetries in the capillary tension. The velocity of the initial droplets depends on these local asymmetries. Due to their different velocities, the droplets coalesce to produce a stream of larger droplets spaced at a much larger distance than the initial droplets. We analytically derive the perturbations that robustly induce this process and investigate the influence of the nonlinear interactions of the two Rayleigh-Plateau-unstable modes on the coalescence process. Experiments and numerical simulations demonstrate that the jet breakup and the subsequent droplet merging are fully governed by the selected modes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-296
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • drops and bubbles
  • waves/free-surface flows


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