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 "satellite droplets"

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.)

There is a surprising variety of forms in the pinch-off of a liquid drop. This short video shows three examples, and you’ll probably find yourself replaying it a few times to catch the details of each. On the left, a drop of water pinches off in air. As the neck between the nozzle and the drop elongates, the drop end of the neck thins to a point around which the drop’s surface dimples. This is called overturning. When the drop snaps off, the neck disconnects and rebounds into a smaller satellite droplet. The middle video shows a drop of glycerol, which is about 1000 times more viscous than water. This droplet stretches to hang by a thin neck that remains nearly symmetric on the nozzle end and the drop end. There is no satellite drop when it breaks. The rightmost video shows a polymer-infused viscoelastic liquid pinching off. This liquid forms a very long, thin thread with a fat satellite drop still attached. When gravity eventually becomes too great a force for the stresses generated by the polymers in the liquid, the drops break off. (Video credit: M. Roche)

A drop of red dye falls into a thin layer of milk, forming a crown splash. Notice the pale edges of the droplets at the rim of the crown; this is milk that has been entrained by the original drop. The rim and satellite droplets surrounding the splash are formed due to surface tension effects, chiefly the Plateau-Rayleigh instability—the same effect responsible for breaking a falling column of liquid into droplets like in a leaking faucet. The instability will have a most unstable wavelength that determines the number of satellite droplets formed. (Photo credit: W. van Hoeve et al., University of Twente)

Microgravity continues to be a fascinating playground for observing surface tension effects on the macroscale without pesky gravity getting in the way. Here astronaut Don Pettit has created a sphere of water, which he then strikes with a jet of air from a syringe. Initially, the momentum from the jet of air creates a sharp cavity in the water, which rebounds into a jet of water that ejects one or more satellite drops.  Surface waves and inertial waves (inside the water sphere) reflect back and forth until the fluid comes to rest as a sphere once more. Note how similar the behavior is to the pinch-off of a water column. Both effects are dominated by surface tension, but on Earth we can only see this behavior with extremely small droplets and high-speed cameras! (Video credit: Don Pettit, Science Off the Sphere)