The formation and destabilization of viscoelastic filaments are of importance in many industrial and biological processes. Filament instabilities have been observed for viscoelastic fluids but recently also for soft elastic solids. In this work, we address the central question of how to connect the dynamical behavior of viscoelastic liquids to that of soft elastic solids. We take advantage of a biopolymer material whose viscoelastic properties can be tuned over a very large range by its pH, and study the destabilization and ensuing instabilities in uniaxial extensional deformation. In agreement with very recent theory, we find that the interface shapes dictated by the instabilities converge to an identical similarity solution for low-viscosity viscoelastic fluids and highly elastic gels. We thereby bridge the gap between very fluid and strongly elastic materials. In addition, we provide direct evidence that at late times an additional filament instability occurs due to a dynamical phase separation.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) , European Union Horizon 2020
Biological Soft Matter-Former Group

Kibbelaar, H. V. M., Deblais, A., Burla, F., Koenderink, G., Velikov, K., & Bonn, D. (2020). Capillary thinning of elastic and viscoelastic threads: From elastocapillarity to phase separation. Phys.Rev.Fluids, 5(9), 092001: 1–8. doi:10.1103/physrevfluids.5.092001