Phenomena

Droplet Springs

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Prior to reaching terminal velocity, a falling droplet typically oscillates between a prolate shape (like an American football about to be kicked) and an oblate one (like that same football when thrown or carried). As explained by Minute Laboratory, this oscillation behaves very similarly to a mass on a spring. For a spring/mass system, the frequency of oscillation is related to the spring’s stiffness; for the falling droplet, it is instead governed by surface tension. If only high schools had high-speed cameras, this would make a fantastic fluids lab experiment! (Video credit: Minute Laboratory; submitted by Pascal W.)

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