Phenomena

Hand Dryers and Atomization

Some newer electric hand dryers, like the Dyson Airblade, use jets of high-speed air to dry hands faster than traditional models. Much of their effectiveness comes from the rapid atomization–or break-up into tiny droplets–of water on one’s hands. This is demonstrated in the animation above, which comes from a high-speed video of a water drop falling through the jets of a homemade dryer. Breaking up the water quickly disperses the microdroplets but it also speeds up evaporation by greatly increasing the exposed surface area of the water. This is similar to how you can get instant snow from throwing boiling water if it’s cold enough outside. (Image credit: tesla500, source video; submitted by Nick)

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