Letter abstract

Nature Physics 3, 180 - 183 (2007)

Subject Category: Fluid dynamics

Making a splash with water repellency

Cyril Duez1, Christophe Ybert1, Christophe Clanet2 and Lydéric Bocquet1


A splash is usually heard when a solid body enters water at large velocity. This phenomenon originates from the formation of an air cavity during the impact. The classical view of impacts on free surfaces relies solely on fluid inertia; therefore, surface properties and viscous effects should be negligible at sufficiently large velocities. In strong contrast to this large-scale hydrodynamic viewpoint, we demonstrate here that the wettability of the impacting body is a key factor in determining the degree of splashing. This unforeseen fact is further embodied in the dependence of the threshold velocity for air entrainment on the contact angle of the impacting body, as well as on the ratio between surface tension and fluid viscosity, thereby defining a critical capillary velocity. As a paradigm, superhydrophobic impactors make a big splash for any impact velocity.

  1. Laboratoire PMCN, Université Lyon 1, UMR CNRS 5586, 69622 Villeurbanne, France
  2. IRPHE, UMR CNRS 6594, 13384 Marseille, France

Correspondence to: Lydéric Bocquet1 e-mail: lyderic.bocquet@univ-lyon1.fr


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