Wrapping Rivulets

Tea lovers have long been frustrated by the tendency of liquid jets to adhere to solid surfaces – the so-called teapot effect that makes the last vestiges of every pour drip down the spout. By investigating the effect with vertical rods, researchers found that, at low enough flow rates, a liquid jet is able to adhere completely, forming a liquid helix that coils around the rod. The authors were also able to construct a mathematical model to capture the behavior. They concluded that both the wettability of a surface and the curvature of the solid are critical to determining whether or not a liquid jet will stick. (Image and research credit: E. Jambon-Puillet et al.; via APS Physics; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

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