Bouncing to Mix Oil and Water

Mixing immiscible liquids–like oil and water–is tough. The best one can usually do is create an emulsion, in which droplets of one fluid are suspended in another. The series of images above shows a double emulsion consisting of oil and water that’s been formed by bouncing the compound droplet on a vibrating bath. The vibration of the liquid surface keeps the droplet from coalescing with the bath and the deformation provides mixing. The top row shows the initial impact while the bottom row of images shows the droplet after many bounces. As time goes on, the layer of oil around the compound drop becomes a cluster of tiny droplets contained within the water portion of the drop. (Photo credit: D. Terwagne et al.)

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