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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 21;96(15):154502. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Self-propelled Leidenfrost droplets.

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Materials Science Institute and Physics Department, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97405-1274, USA.


We report that liquids perform self-propelled motion when they are placed in contact with hot surfaces with asymmetric (ratchetlike) topology. The pumping effect is observed when the liquid is in the Leidenfrost regime (the film-boiling regime), for many liquids and over a wide temperature range. We propose that liquid motion is driven by a viscous force exerted by vapor flow between the solid and the liquid.

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