Research

Shot Through a Drop

Shoot a sphere through a drop with sufficient speed, and you’ll see something like the composite photo above. Going from right to left, the projectile is initially coated in liquid and stretches the fluid behind it as it continues flying. This forms a thin sheet of fluid called a lamella with a thicker, uneven rim at its far end. The lamella continues stretching until the projectile breaks through and detaches. Now the lamella starts rebounding back on itself as surface tension struggles to keep the fluid together. A new rim forms on the front, and both the front and back rims thicken as the lamella collapses. Along the rims thicker portions start forming droplets – like spikes on a crown – as the surface-tension-driven Plateau-Rayleigh instability starts breaking the structure down. The untenable sheet of fluid will break up into a cloud of smaller, satellite droplets when it can hold together no longer. (Image credit: V. Sechenyh et al., video)

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