Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Celebrating the physics of all that flows. Ask a question, submit a post idea or send an email. You can also follow FYFD on Twitter and Google+. FYFD is written by Nicole Sharp, PhD.

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Posts tagged "droplet ejection"

I love science with a sense of humor. This video features a series of clips showing the behavior of droplets on what appears to be a superhydrophobic surface. In particular, there are some excellent examples of drops bouncing on an incline and droplets rebounding after impact. For droplets with enough momentum, impact flattens them like a pancake, with the rim sometimes forming a halo of droplets. If the momentum is high enough, these droplets can escape as satellite drops, but other times the rebound of the drop off the superhydrophobic surface is forceful enough to overcome the instability and draw the entire drop back off the surface.  (Video credit: C. Antonini et al.)

The microgravity environment of space is an excellent place to investigate fluid properties. In particular, surface tension and capillary action appear more dramatic in space because gravitational effects are not around to overwhelm them. In this animation, astronaut Don Petit injects a jet of air into a large sphere of water. Some of the water’s reaction is similar to what occurs on Earth when a drop falls into a pool; the jet of air creates a cavity in the water, which quickly inverts into an outward-moving jet of water. In this case, the jet is energetic enough to eject a large droplet. Meanwhile, the momentum, or inertia, from the air jet and subsequent ejection causes a series of waves to jostle the water sphere back and forth. Surface tension is strong enough to keep the water sphere intact, and eventually surface tension and viscosity inside the sphere will damp out the oscillations. You can see the video in full here. (Image credit: Don Petit/Science off the Sphere)

Paint is probably the Internet’s second favorite non-Newtonian fluid to vibrate on a speaker—after oobleck, of course. And the Slow Mo Guys' take on it does not disappoint: it's bursting (literally?) with great fluid dynamics. It all starts at 1:53 when the less dense green paint starts dimpling due to the Faraday instability. Notice how the dimples and jets of fluid are all roughly equally spaced. When the vibration surpasses the green paint’s critical amplitude, jets sprout all over, ejecting droplets as they bounce. At 3:15, watch as a tiny yellow jet collapses into a cavity before the cavity’s collapse and the vibration combine to propel a jet much further outward. The macro shots are brilliant as well; watch for ligaments of paint breaking into droplets due to the surface-tension-driven Plateau-Rayleigh instability. (Video credit: The Slow Mo Guys)

When a water drop strikes a pool, it can form a cavity in the free surface that will rebound into a jet. If a well-timed second drop hits that jet at the height of its rebound, the impact creates an umbrella-like sheet like the one seen here. The thin liquid sheet expands outward from the point of impact, its rim thickening and ejecting tiny filaments and droplets as surface tension causes a Plateau-Rayleigh-type instability. Tiny capillary waves—ripples—gather near the rim, an echo of the impact between the jet and the second drop. All of this occurs in less than the blink of an eye, but with high-speed video and perfectly-timed photography, we can capture the beauty of these everyday phenomena. (Photo credit: H. Westum)

Hospital-acquired infections are a serious health problem. One potential source of contamination is through the spread of pathogen-bearing droplets emanating from toilet flushes. The video above includes high-speed flow visualization of the large and small droplets that get atomized during the flush of a standard hospital toilet. Both are problematic for the spread of pathogens; the large droplets settle quickly and contaminate nearby surfaces, but the small droplets can remain suspended in the air for an hour or more. Even more distressing is the finding that conventional cleaning products lower surface tension within the toilet, aggravating the problem by allowing even more small droplets to escape. (Video credit: G. Traverso et al.)

A liquid’s surface tension can have a big effect on its splashes. In this video, a 5-mm droplet hits a surface covered in a thin layer of a liquid with lower viscosity and surface tension. The result is a dramatic effect on the spreading splash. As the initial curtain grows and expands, the lower surface tension of the impacted fluid thins the splash curtain. Fluid flows away from these areas due to the Marangoni effect, causing holes to grow. The sheet breaks up into a network of liquid filaments and ejected droplets before gravity can even bring it all to rest. For more, see this previous post and review paper. (Video credit: S. Thoroddsen et al.)

Vibrating a gas-liquid interface produces some exciting instability behaviors. The photo above shows air and silicone oil vibrated vertically within a prism. For the right frequencies and amplitudes, the vibrations produce liquid jets that shoot up and eject droplets as well as gas cavities and bubble transport below the interface. To see a similar experiment in action, check out this post. (Photo credit: T. J. O’Hern et al./Sandia National Laboratories)

Water droplet art celebrates the infinite forms created from the impact of drops with a pool and rebounding jets. It’s a still life captured from split second interactions between inertia, momentum, and surface tension. These examples from photographer Markus Reugels are among some of the most complex shapes I’ve seen captured. Be sure to check out his website for more beautiful examples of liquids frozen in time. (Photo credits: Markus Reugels; via Photigy)

This high-speed video shows a liquid crystal fluid vibrating on a tuning fork. As the surface moves, tiny jets shoot upward, sometimes with sufficient energy that the fluid column is stretched beyond surface tension's ability to keep it intact, resulting in droplet ejection. The jets and surface waves create a mesmerizing pattern of fluid motion. (Video credit: J. Savage) 

Any phenomenon in fluid dynamics typically involves the interaction and competition of many different forces. Sometimes these forces are of very different magnitudes, and it can be difficult to determine their effects. This video focuses on capillary force, which is responsible for a liquid’s ability to climb up the walls of its container, creating a meniscus and allowing plants and trees to passively draw water up from their roots. Being intermolecular in nature, capillary forces can be quite slight in comparison to gravitational forces, and thus it’s beneficial to study them in the absence of gravity.

In the 1950s, drop tower experiments simulating microgravity studied the capillary-driven motion of fluids up a glass tube that was partially submerged in a pool of fluid. Without gravity acting against it, capillary action would draw the fluid up to the top of the glass tube, but no droplets would be ejected. In the current research, a nozzle has been added to the tubes, which accelerates the capillary flow. In this case, both in terrestrial labs and aboard the International Space Station, the momentum of the flow is sufficient to invert the meniscus from concave to convex, allowing a jet of fluid out of the tube. At this point, surface tension instabilities take over, breaking the fluid into droplets. (Video credit: A. Wollman et al.)