Journal of Engineering Mathematics

, Volume 86, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Instability of stretched and twisted soap films in a cylinder



A soap film, or a flexible area-minimizing membrane without bending and torsional stiffness, that is confined in a cylinder is shown to be susceptible to a surface-tension-driven instability when it is stretched or twisted. This leads to its breakdown and places an upper limit on the aspect ratio of such structures. A simple analysis confirms the values for the critical aspect ratio of the stretched film found in both simulations and experiments on soap films, and this threshold decreases with increasing twist of the film.


Elastic membranes Soap films Surface-tension-driven instability Surface Evolver 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Mathematics and PhysicsAberystwyth UniversityAberystwythUK
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Physique des SolidesUniversité Paris SudOrsayFrance

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