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 "superhydrophobic"

A water droplet can rebound completely without spreading from a superhydrophobic surface. The photo above is a long exposure image showing the trajectory of such a droplet as it bounces. In the initial bounces, the droplet leaves the surface fully, following a parabolic path with each rebound. The droplet’s kinetic energy is sapped with each rebound by surface deformation and vibration, making each bounce smaller than the last. Viscosity damps the drop’s vibrations, and the droplet eventually comes to rest after twenty or so rebounds. (Image credit: D. Richard and D. Quere)

Aerogel is an extremely light porous material formed when the liquid inside a gel is replaced with gas. When combined with water, aerogel powders can have some wild superhydrophobic effects. Here water condensed on a liquid nitrogen cooler has dripped onto a floor scattered with aerogel powder from the nitrogen’s shipping container. The result is that the water gets partially coated in aerogel powder and takes on some neat properties. Its contact angle with the surface increases - in other words, it beads up - which is typical of superhydrophobicity. When disturbed, the water breaks easily into droplets which do not immediately recombine upon contact. With sufficient distortion, they can rejoin. You can see some other neat examples of aerogel-coated water behaviors in this second video as well. (Video credit: ophilcial; submitted by Jason I.)

It’s a big fluids round-up today, so let’s get right to it.

(Photo credit: Think Elephants International/R. Shoer)

On a recent trip to G.E., the Slow Mo Guys used their high-speed camera to capture some great footage of dyed water on a superhydrophobic surface. Upon impact, the water streams spread outward, flat except for a crownlike rim around the edges. Then, because air trapped between the liquid and the superhydrophobic solid prevents the liquid from wetting the surface, surface tension pulls the water back together. If this were a droplet rather than a stream, it would rebound off the surface at this point. Instead, the jet breaks up into droplets that scatter and skitter across the surface. There’s footage of smaller droplets bouncing and rebounding, too. Superhydrophobic surfaces aren’t the only way to generate this behavior, though; the same rebounding is found for very hot substrates due to the Leidenfrost effect and very cold substrates due to sublimation.  As a bonus, the video includes ferrofluids at high-speed, too. (Video credit: The Slow Mo Guys/G.E.)


This is the last week that my IndieGoGo project is open for donations. All money above and beyond what is needed for the conference will go toward FYFD-produced videos. Also, donors can get some awesome FYFD stickers.

As a reminder, those looking for more fluids—in video, textbook, or other form—can always check out my resources page. And if you know about great links that aren’t on there, let me know so that I can add them. On to the round-up!

I had a lot of fun earlier this week giving a talk for the Texas A&M Applied Mathematics Undergraduate Seminar series. I didn’t get a chance to record it, but the slides are up here if anyone is interested. 
(Photo credit: M. Klimas)

The photo sequence in the upper image shows, left to right, a fluid-filled tube falling under gravity, impacting a rigid surface, and rebounding upward. During free-fall, the fluid wets the sides of the tube, creating a hemispherical meniscus. After impact, the surface curvature reverses dramatically to form an intense jet. If, on the other hand, the tube is treated so that it is hydrophobic, the contact angle between the liquid and the tube will be 90 degrees during free-fall, impact, and rebound, as shown in the lower image sequence. The liquid simply falls and rebounds alongside the tube, without any deformation of the air-liquid interface. (Photo credit: A. Antkowiak et al.)

Ferrofluidscolloidal suspensions made up of ferromagnetic nanoparticles and a carrier liquid—are known for their interesting and sometimes bizarre behaviors due to magnetic fields. The video above shows how, when subjected to an increasing magnetic field, a single droplet of a ferrofluid on a superhydrophobic surface will split into several droplets. The process is called static self-assembly, and it results from the ferrofluid seeking a minimum energy state relative to the force supplied by the magnetic field. Change the magnetic field and the droplets shift to the next energy minimum. But what happens when you change the magnetic field continuously and too quickly for the droplets to respond? A whole different set of structures and behaviors are observed (video link). This is dynamic self-assembly, a different ordered state only achieved when the ferrofluid is forceably kept away from the energy minima seen in the first video. For more, see the additional videos and the original paper. (Video credit: J. Timonen et al.; via io9)

Anthony Hall’s "Perpetual Puddle Vortex Experiment" is an intriguing display of several physical mechanisms. What looks like a puddle is actually a vortex constantly sucking fluid down a hole in the table. The liquid is re-circulated into the puddle so it never disappears. The table itself is treated to be hydrophobic, causing the distinctive curvature and large contact angle of the puddle’s rim. The oils mixed in float on top, creating patterns of foam that visualize the swirling motions of the fluid as the vortex pulls it in.   (Video credit and submission by: A. Hall)

In the image above we see two spheres of the same size, shape, and material being dropped into water. The left sphere has almost no splash, whereas the one on the right has a spectacular curtain-like splash. Why the big difference? It all comes down to the surface treatments. The glass sphere on the left is hydrophilic, but the right one has been treated to be hydrophobic. As a result, the water-fearing molecules of that sphere push the water away, allowing air to be entrained below the water’s surface instead. This creates a big splash that’s absent when the water moves smoothly around the hydrophilic sphere. (Photo credit: L. Bocquet et al.)

Hydrophobic literally means water-fearing, and, once a surface is treated with a hydrophobic coating, the effect on water droplets is stark. The tendency of the non-polar hydrophobic molecules to repel the polar water molecules leads to high contact angles - which make the droplets almost spherical as they glide along the surface. The droplets dance across the surface, colliding and bouncing and coalescing.  (Video and submission credit: M. Bell)