Research

The Chaos of a Bouncing Droplet

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This video explores chaos in a bouncing droplet.  A drop of silicon oil bounces on a vibrating bath of oil; the thin layer of air injected with each bounce between the droplet and bath keeps them from coalescing. Initially, the droplet behaves like a bouncing ball, jumping once per oscillation. As the vibration amplitude increases, the droplet begins making a small jump, then a large jump, then a small jump, and so on. This is called period doubling since the droplet now jumps in a pattern with twice the period of the original and is a hallmark of nonlinear dynamical systems. Further increase in the vibration amplitude leads to chaotic bouncing and occasional ejecta. (Video credit: D. Terwagne et al.)

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