Droplets Surfing

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The Leidenfrost effect can make water droplets skitter across a hot griddle or briefly protect a hand dunked in liquid nitrogen. When a liquid is exposed to a solid surface much, much hotter than its boiling point, the contact vaporizes part of the liquid, and, in the case of a droplet, forms a thin lubricating layer of vapor that the liquid drop can skate around on. Researchers have found that releasing these Leidenfrost droplets on textured surfaces creates self-propelling drops by directing the flow of vapor. In this video, one team demonstrates some of the neat tracks they’ve built for their drops.  (Video credit: D. Soto et al.)

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