Leidenfrost Vapour Layers

Categories: Current Research
When a superheated sphere comes in contact with a liquid it will form a protective vapour layer around itself, which reduces the heat-transfer through a process called the Leidenfrost effect. We have implemented this phenomenon to produce the ultimate drag reduction on a heated sphere moving through a liquid, by stabilizing the vapour layer to encapsulate the surface within a Perfluorohexane liquid, which has a low boiling point. This effectively changes the boundary condition from no-slip to free-slip. The drag coefficient was reduced by as much as 85%.

This work was published in Physical Review Letters and highlighted in Nature Physics. Our follow-up work has appeared in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and Nature.

  1. Vakarelski, I. U., Patankar, N. A., Marston, J. O., Chan, D. Y. C., Thoroddsen, S. T. (2012).
    Stabilization of Leidenfrost vapour layer by textured superhydrophobic surfacesNature, 489 (7415), 274–277.
  2. Marston, J. O., Vakarelski, I. U., Thoroddsen, S. T. (2012), Cavity formation by the impact of LeidenfrostspheresJ. Fluid Mech. 699 , 465-488.Including a cover image of this issue.
  3. Vakarelski, I. U., Marston, J. O., Chan, D. Y. C. Thoroddsen, S. T. (2011),  Drag reduction by Leidenfrost vapor layersPhys. Rev. Lett., 106 , 214501.