Burgers shock waves and sound in a 2D microfluidic droplets ensemble

Tsevi Beatus*, Tsvi Tlusty, Roy Bar-Ziv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We investigate the collective motion of a two-dimensional disordered ensemble of droplets in a microfluidic channel far from equilibrium and at Reynolds number □10-4. The ensemble carries ultraslow shock waves and sound, propagating at □100μms̄1 and superposed on diffusive droplets motion. These modes are induced by long-range hydrodynamic dipolar interactions between droplets, the result of the symmetry breaking flow. The modes obey the Burgers equation due to a local coupling between droplets velocity and number density. This stems from a singular effect of the channel sidewall boundaries upon summation of the hydrodynamic interaction in two dimensions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number114502
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


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