Drop Impact and Splashing

Drop Impact and Splashing


Splashing is ubiquitous in nature and industrial applications, for example during rain and wave-breaking on the surface of the ocean and lakes.   Sprays are used for painting, cooling and cleaning of solid surfaces and spray droplets interact with solids inside combustion chambers.

Systematic experiments are being conducted in our laboratory to understand the breakup of drops during such impacts onto both liquid and solid surfaces. We have also successfully performed  numerical simulations of droplet splashing, using the open-source software Gerris developed by a French group (Popinet & Zaleski), with whom we are collaborating. Using generous KAUST computational resources we have been able to resolve unprecedented detail of the splashing dynamics, never before possible, as recently published in Physical Review Letters.

We are continuing this work to explain the various transitions occurring during splashing of drops at high impact velocities.  Spray formation connects to our collaboration with the Clean Combustion Research Center, where we will use high-speed imaging to study injector sprays.



1. Thoraval, M.-J., Takehara, K., Etoh, T. G., Popinet, S., Ray, P. Josserand, C., Zaleski, S. & Thoroddsen, S. T. (2012), von Kármán Vortex Street within an Impacting DropPhys. Rev. Lett., 108, 264506. [Selected as the Physics Focus written by Philip Ball.]


2. Thoroddsen, S. T., Thoraval, M.-J., Takehara, K. & Etoh, T. G. (2011), Droplet Splashing by a Slingshot Mechanism, Phys. Rev. Lett., 106, 034501.