What is the term used to describe the behaviour of (for example) a water droplet in free fall when it has reached a certain speed and then the force on the droplet causes the larger droplet to disperse into many smaller sized droplets. This also occurs in a Taylor Cone when using electrostatic spray. The charge builds in the liquid until it eventually reaches a critical charge and then the negatively charged droplet releases.

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For an individual droplet the term is drop deformation and break-up. This can be caused by both shear and elongational stress.

For the breakup of a fluid jet into droplets - you are looking at the Rayleigh-Plateau instability.

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