Research

Dancing Droplet Clusters

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When a fluid surface is vibrated, it’s possible to bounce a droplet indefinitely on the surface without the droplet coalescing into the pool. This is because each bounce of the droplet replenishes a thin layer of air that separates the droplet and the pool. If many droplets are added to the surface, as in the video above, a clustering behavior is observed, with many droplets gathering together.  There is a limit, however, to the size of the cluster based on the amplitude of vibration.  If vibrational amplitudes are pushed to the point of creating Faraday waves–standing waves on the surface of the pool–then large clusters of droplets can be suspended and sustained. (Video credit: P. Cabrera-Garcia and R. Zenit; via io9; submitted by oneheadtoanother)

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