Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Science
Physics & Astronomy
© 2006 John Koulakis
Variational techniques are used to develop a theory for the time evolution of a thin strand of viscous fluid suspended from two points. The shape of the strand is approximated to be a parabola and energy conservation is used to derive a differential equation modeling the change in height over time. Data is collected with a high resolution camera and a strobe light to obtain the position and shape of the strand over multiple intervals of time. Three very different and unexpected types of behaviors are observed depending on the initial thickness and shape of the filament. The approximation fits well with one type of behavior but variations in the thickness of the strand, and consequently in the center of mass, need to be factored in to predict the others.
Koulakis, John, "The Viscous Catenary" (2006). Pomona Senior Theses. 14.