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Phys Rev Lett. 2005 May 13;94(18):184505. Epub 2005 May 11.

Drop splashing on a dry smooth surface.

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The James Franck Institute and Department of Physics, The University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The corona splash due to the impact of a liquid drop on a smooth dry substrate is investigated with high-speed photography. A striking phenomenon is observed: splashing can be completely suppressed by decreasing the pressure of the surrounding gas. The threshold pressure where a splash first occurs is measured as a function of the impact velocity and found to scale with the molecular weight of the gas and the viscosity of the liquid. Both experimental scaling relations support a model in which compressible effects in the gas are responsible for splashing in liquid solid impacts.

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