When small particles (e.g., flour, pollen, etc.) come in contact with a liquid surface, they immediately disperse. The dispersion can occur so quickly that it appears explosive, especially for small particles on the surface of mobile liquids like water. This explosive-like dispersion is the consequence of capillary forces pulling particles into the interface causing them to accelerate to a relatively large velocity. The maximum velocity increases with decreasing particle size; for nanometer-sized particles (e.g., viruses and proteins), the velocity on an air-water interface can be as large as 47 m/s. We also show that particles oscillate at a relatively-high frequency about their floating equilibrium before coming to stop under viscous drag. The observed dispersion is a result of strong repulsive hydrodynamic forces that arise because of these oscillations.
- Fluids Engineering Division
Modeling of Particles Dispersion on Liquid Surfaces
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Gurupatham, S, Dalal, B, Nudurupati, S, Fischer, IS, Singh, P, & Joseph, DD. "Modeling of Particles Dispersion on Liquid Surfaces." Proceedings of the ASME 2010 3rd Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Summer Meeting collocated with 8th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels. ASME 2010 3rd Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Summer Meeting: Volume 1, Symposia – Parts A, B, and C. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. August 1–5, 2010. pp. 1429-1432. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/FEDSM-ICNMM2010-30555
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