Research

Splashes on Hairy Surfaces

The question of whether a droplet will splash is a complicated one, even for smooth surfaces, but researchers are also interested in what happens to hairy surfaces when droplets strike. By varying the droplet viscosity and speed, along with the spacing of the hairs, researchers sketched out the variety of impacts one can get. 

What happens during impact depends largely on how the kinetic energy of the droplet compares to the dissipation caused by interaction with the hairs. When the two balance, the droplet gets captured, like in the upper right image. If the hairy dissipation wins, you get a drop that stays mostly on the surface of the hairs. And if the kinetic energy outweighs the dissipation, you end up with a star-shaped splash that spreads between the hairs. (Image and research credit: A. Nasto et al.)

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