Surface tension driven jet break up of strain-hardening polymer solutions

Yenny Christanti, Lynn M. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Experimental studies attempting to ascertain the influence of viscoelasticity on the atomization of polymer solution are often hindered by the inability to decouple the effect of shear thinning from the effect of extensional hardening. Here, the influence of viscoelasticity on the jet break up of a series of non-shear-thinning viscoelastic fluids is quantified. Previous characterization using an opposed-nozzle rheometer identified the critical extensional rates for strain hardening of these model fluids. The strain hardening fluids exhibit a beads-on-string structure with reduction or elimination of satellite drops. Capillary instabilities grow on the filaments connecting the spheres and eventually break the filaments up into a string of very small drops about one order of magnitude smaller than the satellite drops formed by a Newtonian fluid with the same shear viscosity, surface tension, and density. These results confirm that strain hardening is the key rheological property in jet break up and that the critical extensional rate of a fluid is pertinent in determining the final characteristics of break up. Results suggest that the opposed-nozzle rheometer does probe extensional behavior in the range of extensional rates that are relevant to jet break up, providing a tool to roughly predict jet break up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-26
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (34555-G9) and the PPG Industries Foundation Graduate Fellowship for funding. The authors would also like to acknowledge the Spray Systems Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University for the use of their CCD Camera and Speed View 700 Particle Analyzer. We thank Robert. P. Mun for useful discussions and the reviewers for pointing out theoretical work in the literature that enhances the interpretation of our results.


  • Jet break up
  • Opposed-nozzle rheometer
  • Polymer solutions
  • Viscoelasticity


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