Journal of Elasticity

, Volume 127, Issue 2, pp 235–247 | Cite as

Elastocapillary Coiling of an Elastic Rod Inside a Drop

  • Hervé Elettro
  • Paul Grandgeorge
  • Sébastien NeukirchEmail author


Capillary forces acting at the surface of a liquid drop can be strong enough to deform small objects and recent studies have provided several examples of elastic instabilities induced by surface tension. We present such an example where a liquid drop sits on a straight fiber, and we show that the liquid attracts the fiber which thereby coils inside the drop. We derive the equilibrium equations for the system, compute bifurcation curves, and show the packed fiber may adopt several possible configurations inside the drop. We use the energy of the system to discriminate between the different configurations and find a intermittent regime between two-dimensional and three-dimensional solutions as more and more fiber is driven inside the drop.


Capillarity Bifurcation Packing 

Mathematics Subject Classification

74K10 74F10 74G65 



We thank Camille Dianoux and Sinan Haliyo for their help on microscopy, and Arnaud Antkowiak for comments on the variational approach. The present work was supported by ANR grant ANR-09-JCJC-0022-01, ANR-14-CE07-0023-01, and ANR-13-JS09-0009. Financial support from ‘La Ville de Paris—Programme Émergence’ and CNRS, through a PEPS-PTI grant, is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hervé Elettro
    • 1
  • Paul Grandgeorge
    • 1
  • Sébastien Neukirch
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut Jean Le Rond d’AlembertSorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, CNRS, UMR 7190ParisFrance

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