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Surface phenomena

Contact time of a bouncing drop

Naturevolume 417page811 (2002) | Download Citation



When a liquid drop lands on a solid surface without wetting it, it bounces with remarkable elasticity1,2,3. Here we measure how long the drop remains in contact with the solid during the shock, a problem that was considered by Hertz4 for a bouncing ball. Our findings could help to quantify the efficiency of water-repellent surfaces (super-hydrophobic solids5) and to improve water-cooling of hot solids, which is limited by the rebounding of drops6 as well as by temperature effects.

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Author information


  1. Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée, URA 792 du CNRS, Collège de France, Paris, 75231, Cedex 05, France

    • Denis Richard
    •  & David Quéré
  2. Institut de Recherche sur les Phénomènes Hors Équilibre, UMR 6594 du CNRS, BP 146, Marseille Cedex, 13384, France

    • Christophe Clanet


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to David Quéré.

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