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The Disgregation of Liquids

Emmanuel Villermaux IRPHE, Université Aix Marseille, Ecole Centrale Marseille

Capillarity is the familiar manifestation of the cohesion of liquids. Since Laplace (1805), we know that intense attractive forces between the molecules bridge the small with the large since they shape liquid/vapor interfaces (meniscii, capillary rise, drops etc…) at macroscopic scales through the concept of surface tension. We will be concerned with situations where liquids `disgregate’, following the neologism of R. Clausius (1862), meaning that they fragment by the action of deformations whose intensity competes with that of cohesion forces. Various examples including explosions, blow-ups, hard and soft impacts, and stretchings applied to liquid jets, sheets, bubbles and drops will be reviewed. In spite of their diversity, they share a common phenomenology suggesting that the fragments (the final stable droplets) size distribution can be, in general, interpreted from elementary principles.