Effect of axial electric field on the Rayleigh instability at small length scales

DK Bhuptani and SP Sathian, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 95, 053115 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.95.053115

The effect of an electric field along the longitudinal axis of a nanoscale liquid thread is studied to understand the mechanism of breakup. The Rayleigh instability (commonly known as the Plateau- Rayleigh instability) of a nanosized liquid water thread is investigated by using molecular dynamics simulations. The breakup mechanism of the liquid nanothread is studied by analyzing the temporal evolution of the thread radius. The influence of the temperature of the liquid nanothread and the electric-field strength on the stability and breakup is the major focus of the study. The results show that the axial electric field has a stabilizing effect even at nanoscale. The results from the simulations are in good agreement with the solutions obtained from the dispersion relation developed by Hohman et al. for the liquid thread. The critical electric-field strength necessary to avoid the breakup of the liquid thread is calculated and other effects such as the splaying and whipping instability are also discussed.

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