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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 7, 311-315 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2001-10099-1

The transition from two-dimensional to three-dimensional foam structures

S.J. Cox1, D. Weaire1 and M. Fátima Vaz2

1  Department of Physics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
2  ICEMS, Instituto de Ciência e Engenharia de Materiais e Superfícies, Departamento de Engenharia de Materiais, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1096 Lisboa Codex, Portugal


(Received 15 October 2001 and Received in final form 14 January 2002)

Small cells in an experimental sample of two-dimensional foam, such as that which is contained between two glass plates, may undergo a transition to a three-dimensional form, becoming detached from one boundary. We present the first detailed observations of this phenomenon, together with computer simulations. The transition is attributed to an instability of the Rayleigh-Plateau type. A theoretical analysis is given which shows that an individual cell is susceptible to this instability only if it has less than six sides.

47.20.Dr - Surface-tension-driven instability.
82.70.Rr - Aerosols and foams.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002