Tristability in Viscoelastic Flow Past Side-by-Side Microcylinders

Cameron C. Hopkins, Simon J. Haward, Amy Q. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Viscoelastic flows through microscale porous arrays exhibit complex path selection and switching phenomena. However, understanding this process is limited by a lack of studies linking between a single object and large arrays. Here, we report experiments on viscoelastic flow past side-by-side microcylinders with variable intercylinder gap. With increasing flow rate, a sequence of two imperfect symmetry-breaking bifurcations forces selection of either one or two of the three possible flow paths around the cylinders. Tuning the gap length through the value where the first bifurcation becomes perfect reveals regions of bistability and tristability in a dimensionless flow rate-gap length phase diagram.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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