Rayleigh instability at small length scales

N Gopan and SP Sathian, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 90, 033001 (2014).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.90.033001

The Rayleigh instability (also called the Plateau-Rayleigh instability) of a nanosized liquid propane thread is investigated using molecular dynamics (MD). The validity of classical predictions at small length scales is verified by comparing the temporal evolution of liquid thread simulated by MD against classical predictions. Previous works have shown that thermal fluctuations become dominant at small length scales. The role and influence of the stochastic nature of thermal fluctuations in determining the instability at small length scale is also investigated. Thermal fluctuations are seen to dominate and accelerate the breakup process only during the last stages of breakup. The simulations also reveal that the breakup profile of nanoscale threads undergo modification due to reorganization of molecules by the evaporation- condensation process.

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