Wrapping Droplets

Future efforts for targeted drug delivery may require encapsulating droplets before transporting them to their final location. One method for encapsulation is wrapping a drop in a thin, solid sheet. Previously, we saw that drops can wrap themselves with a little outside assistance, but here the drops achieve that same feat on their own, using the energy of droplet impact to wrap liquids. 

Here’s how it works: float a thin sheet on a bath of a liquid like water, then let an oil drop fall into the bath. Its impact deforms the air-water interface and, with a sufficiently energetic impact, causes the oil droplet to pinch off. The flexible sheet wraps around the droplet, and the encapsulated droplet sinks due to gravity. The shape of the final drop depends on the sheet’s initial geometry. The researchers have successfully used circular, triangular, and cross-shaped sheets to wrap droplets. Check out the original paper or the video below for more. (Image and research credit: D. Kumar et al.; video credit: Science)

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