Rayleigh-Taylor Instability in Soft Viscoelastic Solids

Malcolm Slutzky, Jonghyun Hwang, Howard A. Stone, Janine K. Nunes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an experimental characterization of the gravity-driven Rayleigh-Taylor instability in viscoelastic solids. The instability creates periodic patterns on the free surface of the soft solids that are distinct from the previously studied elastic Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The experimental results are supported by the linear stability analysis reported here. We identify the dependence of the steady-state pattern of deformations on the gel’s geometry, complex shear modulus, and surface tension. This study provides quantitative measures applicable to the design of tunable surface textures, soft machines, and 3D structures.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1567-1575
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 16 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Spectroscopy
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry

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