Quantitative analysis of the dripping and jetting regimes in co-flowing capillary jets
We study a liquid jet that breaks up into drops in an external co-flowing liquid inside a confining microfluidic geometry. The jet breakup can occur right after the nozzle in a phenomenon named dripping or through the generation of a liquid jet that breaks up a long distance from the nozzle, which is called jetting. Traditionally, these two regimes have been considered to reflect the existence of two kinds of spatiotemporal instabilities of a fluid jet, the dripping regime corresponding to an absolutely unstable jet and the jetting regime to a convectively unstable jet. Here, we present quantitative measurements of the dripping and jetting regimes, both in an unforced and a forced state, and compare these measurements with recent theoretical studies of spatiotemporal instability of a confined liquid jet in a co-flowing liquid. In the unforced state, the frequency of oscillation and breakup of the liquid jet is measured and compared to the theoretical predictions. The dominant frequency of the jet oscillations as a function of the inner flow rate agrees qualitatively with the theoretical predictions in the jetting regime but not in the dripping regime. In the forced state, achieved with periodic laser heating, the dripping regime is found to be insensitive to the perturbation and the frequency of drop formation remains unaltered. The jetting regime, on the contrary, amplifies the externally imposed frequency, which translates into the formation of drops at the frequency imposed by the external forcing. In conclusion, the dripping and jetting regimes are found to exhibit the main features of absolutely and convectively unstable flows, respectively, but the frequency selection in the dripping regime is not ruled by the absolute frequency predicted by the stability analysis.