Perspectives on viscoelastic flow instabilities and elastic turbulence

Sujit S. Datta*, Arezoo M. Ardekani, Paulo E. Arratia, Antony N. Beris, Irmgard Bischofberger, Gareth H. McKinley, Jens G. Eggers, J. Esteban López-Aguilar, Suzanne M. Fielding, Anna Frishman, Michael D. Graham, Jeffrey S. Guasto, Simon J. Haward, Amy Q. Shen, Sarah Hormozi, Alexander Morozov, Robert J. Poole, V. Shankar, Eric S. G. Shaqfeh, Holger StarkVictor Steinberg, Ganesh Subramanian, Howard A. Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Viscoelastic fluids are a common subclass of rheologically complex materials that are encountered in diverse fields from biology to polymer processing. Often the flows of viscoelastic fluids are unstable in situations where ordinary Newtonian fluids are stable, owing to the nonlinear coupling of the elastic and viscous stresses. Perhaps more surprisingly, the instabilities produce flows with
the hallmarks of turbulence—even though the effective Reynolds numbers may be O(1) or smaller. We provide perspectives on viscoelastic flow instabilities by integrating the input from speakers at a recent international workshop: historical remarks, characterization of fluids and flows, discussion of experimental and simulation tools, and modern questions and puzzles that motivate further studies of this fascinating subject. The materials here will be useful for researchers and educators alike, especially as the subject continues to evolve in both fundamental understanding and applications in engineering and the sciences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Mar 2022


  • physics.flu-dyn
  • cond-mat.soft
  • nlin.CD


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