Volume 77, Number 2, January 2007
Article Number 28002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 19 January 2007
EPL, 77 (2007) 28002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/77/28002

Pre-empting Plateau: The nature of topological transitions in foam

S. Hutzler1, D. Weaire1, 2, S. J. Cox3, A. van der Net1 and E. Janiaud1

1  School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin - Dublin 2, Ireland
2  Departamento de Engenharia de Materiais, Instituto Superior Técnico - Av. Rovisco Pais, Lisboa, Portugal
3  Institute of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Wales - Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3BZ, UK

received 27 June 2006; accepted in final form 20 November 2006; published January 2007
published online 19 January 2007

When the area of a face in a dry foam approaches zero in some quasistatic processes, Plateau's rules dictate that there must be an instability. This is more subtle than generally supposed. We argue that it is generally pre-empted, that is, the instability arises before an unstable multiple vertex is formed. Experiments and calculations which simulate Plateau's wire frame experiments support this view.

82.70.Rr - Aerosols and foams .
83.80.Iz - Emulsions and foams .
47.20.Dr - Surface-tension-driven instability .

© Europhysics Letters Association 2007