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Revisiting the Taylor-Culick approximation: Retraction of an axisymmetric filament

Abstract : We numerically study the retraction of an axisymmetric viscous filament in a passive surrounding fluid. The analysis focuses on the evolution of the tip velocity, from the early stage of the filament retraction until it reaches its final equilibrium spherical shape. The problem is governed by two control parameters: the Ohnesorge number, Oh, which measures the relative importance of viscous and surface tension effects, and the initial aspect ratio of the filament, A. We investigate the influence of Oh over a wide range of aspect ratios. The small-Oh regime is characterized by the occurrence of a spherical blob at the extremity of the filament. This feature has a key impact on the tip dynamics, which moves with an oscillating velocity whose mean value is close to the Taylor-Culick prediction. The oscillatory behavior of the tip velocity is explained through a simple mass-spring model. This regime is also characterized by the presence of capillary waves, with a phase velocity slightly larger than the Taylor-Culick velocity. Surface oscillations are also observed when the filament reaches its final spherical shape; the corresponding period agrees well with predictions of the linear theory. At intermediate Oh and large A, the tip velocity reaches a value close to the Taylor-Culick prediction. However, for smaller aspect ratios, the maximum tip velocity is much smaller than this prediction, and does not exhibit any oscillation. The recoil dynamics is qualitatively and quantitatively different at high Oh. In this case, the radius of the filament grows uniformly over time and no blob forms, making the tip velocity decrease after a short transient. A self-similar solution is found to closely match the numerical results in this regime.
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Jean-Lou Pierson, Jacques Magnaudet, Edson Soares, Stéphane Popinet. Revisiting the Taylor-Culick approximation: Retraction of an axisymmetric filament. Physical Review Fluids, American Physical Society, In press, 5 (7), pp.073602. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevFluids.5.073602⟩. ⟨hal-02747137⟩

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