Wrinkling Drops

When a viscous drop falls into a pool of a less viscous liquid, the drop can deform into some beautiful and complex shapes. Typically, shear forces between the drop and its surroundings cause a vortex ring to roll up and advect downward, thereby stretching the remainder of the drop into thin sheets that can buckle and wrinkle. Here the drop is about 150 times more viscous than the pool and impacts at 1.45 m/s, making a rather energetic entry. The vortex ring (not visible) has stretched the drop’s remains downward while a buoyant bubble caught by the impact pulls some of the drop back toward the surface. As a result, the thin sheets of the drop’s fluid are buckling and folding back on themselves like an elaborate and delicate glass sculpture. This entire paper is full of gorgeous images and videos. Be sure to check them out! (Image and research credit: E. Q. Li et al.; see supplemental info zip for videos)

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