Emulsion Impact

Emulsions – mixtures of two immiscible fluids – are quite common; the oil and vinegar combination used in many salad dressings is one. The image sequence above shows the first 800 microseconds of the impact of a similarly emulsified droplet. The outer drop, seen on the left, consists of a water/glycerin mixture, and inside the drop are 20 smaller perfluorohexane droplets. These smaller droplets are denser and tend to settle toward the bottom of the outer drop. When the compound droplet hits a solid surface, it spreads in a spectacular starburst pattern that depends on the number and location of interior droplets. You can see a similar impact in motion here. (Image credit: J. Zhang and E. Li; source: C. Josserand and S. Thoroddsen)

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