Instability of stretched and twisted soap films in a cylinder

S. J. Cox, Sian Angharad Jones

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Engineering Mathematics
Issue number1
Early online date28 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • elastic membranes
  • soap films
  • surface-tension-driven instability
  • surface evolver


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