Lift-Off Instability During the Impact of a Drop on a Solid Surface

We directly measure the rapid spreading dynamics succeeding the impact of a droplet of fluid on a solid, dry surface. Upon impact, the air separating the liquid from the solid surface fails to drain and wetting is delayed as the liquid rapidly spreads outwards over a nanometer thin film of air. We show that the approach of the spreading liquid front toward the surface is unstable and the spreading front lifts off away from the surface. Lift-off ensues well before the liquid contacts the surface, in contrast with prevailing paradigm where lift-off of the liquid is contingent on solid-liquid contact and the formation of a viscous boundary layer. Here I will discuss the dynamics of liquid spreading over a thin film of air and its lift-off away from the surface over a large range of fluid viscosities.

Presented at:
67th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, San Francisco, California, USA, November 23–25, 2014

 Record created 2017-06-08, last modified 2018-03-17

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