Research

Water Spray from a Tire

The spray thrown up by a rolling tire is simulated in the lab by running a single-grooved tire (top) against a smooth tire (bottom) that simulates the road. A supply of water flows from the left at the speed of the rolling tires (6 m/s). The resultant sheet of water is a familiar site to motorists everywhere. Holes in the the sheet of water collide to form the smallest droplets, whose diameters are comparable to the thickness of the sheet, of the order of 100 microns. Thicker parts of the sheet form ligaments and break down into large droplets through the Plateau-Rayleigh instability. (Photo credit: Dennis Plocher, Fred Browand and Charles Radovich) #

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