Research

Shocking Droplets

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Typical liquid drops will break apart into long, stretched ligaments and a spray of tiny droplets when deformed. But with just a small addition of polymers, these same liquids become viscoelastic and capable of some pretty incredible behaviors. This video shows a viscoelastic drop being struck by a shock wave that passes from right to left. The droplet is smashed and deformed, then stretches into jellyfish-like sheet of liquid. But incredibly, the elastic forces in the droplet are enough to hold it together. Researchers are interested in understanding these behaviors for many applications, including preventing accidental explosions caused by explosive fuels atomizing in air. (Video credit: T. Theofanous et al.)

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