A note on the aerodynamic splashing of droplets

Research paper by José Manuel Gordillo, Guillaume Riboux

Indexed on: 18 Dec '19Published on: 25 Jul '19Published in: Journal of fluid mechanics


When a drop of a low-viscosity liquid of radius $R$ impacts against an inclined smooth solid substrate at a velocity  $V$ , a liquid sheet of thickness $H_{t}\ll R$ is expelled at a velocity $V_{t}\gg V$ . If the impact velocity is such that $V>V^{\ast }$ , with $V^{\ast }$ the critical velocity for splashing, the edge of the expanding liquid sheet lifts off from the wall as a consequence of the gas lubrication force at the wedge region created between the advancing liquid front and the substrate. Here we show that the magnitude of the gas lubrication force is limited by the values of the slip length $\ell _{\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}}$ at the gas–liquid interface and of the slip length $\ell _{g}\propto \unicode[STIX]{x1D706}$ at the solid, with $\unicode[STIX]{x1D706}$ the mean free path of gas molecules. We demonstrate that the splashing regime changes depending on the value of the ratio $\ell _{\unicode[STIX]{x1D707}}/\ell _{g}$ – a fact explaining the spreading–splashing–spreading–splashing transition for a fixed (low) value of the gas pressure as the drop impact velocity increases (Xu et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 94, 2005, 184505; Hao et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 122, 2019, 054501). We also provide an expression for $V^{\ast }$ as a function of the inclination angle of the substrate, the drop radius  $R$ , the material properties of the liquid and the gas, and the mean free path  $\unicode[STIX]{x1D706}$ , in very good agreement with experiments.