A Cascade of Structure in a Drop Falling from a Faucet

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Science  08 Jul 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5169, pp. 219-222
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5169.219


A drop falling from a faucet is a common example of a mass fissioning into two or more pieces. The shape of the liquid in this situation has been investigated by both experiment and computer simulation. As the viscosity of the liquid is varied, the shape of the drop changes dramatically. Near the point of breakup, viscous drops develop long necks that then spawn a series of smaller necks with ever thinner diameters. Simulations indicate that this repeated formation of necks can proceed ad infinitum whenever a small but finite amount of noise is present in the experiment. In this situation, the dynamical singularity occurring when a drop fissions is characterized by a rough interface.