How a Leak Can Stop Itself

Willfully or not, some leaks can under certain circumstances stop themselves. This study explores that notion:

How a Leak Can Stop Itself,” Caroline D. Tally, Heather E. Kurtz, Rose B. Tchuenkam, and Katharine E. Jensen, arXiv:2202.02644, 2023. The authors explain:

We often consider how to stop a leak, but here we ask a different question: how might a leak stop itself? We experimentally study leaking flow transitions from continuous drainage to spontaneous arrest. High-speed imaging reveals that fluid breakup events generate droplets whose Laplace pressures oppose the leak. Early droplets grow unstably, but a final droplet equilibrates to a stable spherical cap via lightly damped harmonic oscillations. A total energetic theory shows that inertia plays a key role in the leak-stop mechanism.