On the evolution of non-axisymmetric viscous fibres with surface tension, inertia and gravity

L. J. Cummings, P. D. Howell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We consider the free boundary problem for the evolution of a nearly straight slender fibre of viscous fluid. The motion is driven by prescribing the velocity of the ends of the fibre, and the free surface evolves under the action of surface tension, inertia and gravity. The three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations and free-surface boundary conditions are analysed asymptotically, using the fact that the inverse aspect ratio, defined to be the ratio between a typical fibre radius and the initial fibre length, is small. This first part of the paper follows earlier work on the stretching of a slender viscous fibre with negligible surface tension effects. The inclusion of surface tension seriously complicates the problem for the evolution of the shape of the cross-section. We adapt ideas applied previously to two-dimensional Stokes flow to show that the shape of the cross-section can be described by means of a conformal map which depends on time and distance along the fibre axis. We give some examples of suitable relevant conformal maps and present numerical solutions of the resulting equations. We also use analytic methods to examine the coupling between stretching and the evolution of the cross-section shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-389
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 25 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'On the evolution of non-axisymmetric viscous fibres with surface tension, inertia and gravity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this