Vibrated to Bits

Sound and vibration can be powerful tools for controlling liquids. In this animation, a water/glycerin drop violently bursts into a cloud of droplets when it is vibrated vertically 1000 times per second by a piezoelectric actuator. This vibration shakes the drop with accelerations of 150 g. Initially, the amplitude is small enough to simply create ripples around the drop’s circumference. As it increases, the drop deforms more at the edges and starts to eject droplets there. When the vibration hits a critical amplitude, the entire drop explodes into droplets. The technique is called vibration-induced droplet bursting, and its near-instantaneous ability to atomize drops makes it a candidate for applications like spray cooling microprocessors or spray coating a solid surface. (Video credit: B. Vukasinovic, source)

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