A study of the normal impact of liquid droplets on a dry horizontal substrate is presented in this paper. The impact dynamics, spreading and recoil behavior are captured using a high-speed digital video camera at 2000 frames per second. A digital image processing software was used to determine the drop spread and height of the liquid on the surface from each frame. To ascertain the effects of liquid viscosity and surface tension, experiments were conducted with four liquids (water, ethanol, propylene glycol and glycerin) that have vastly different fluid properties. Three different Weber numbers (20, 40, and 80) were considered by altering the height from which the drop is released. The high-speed photographs of impact, spreading and recoil are shown and the temporal variations of dimensionless drop spread and height are provided in the paper. The results show that changes in liquid viscosity and surface tension significantly affect the spreading and recoil behavior. For a fixed Weber number, lower surface tension promotes greater spreading and higher viscosity dampens spreading and recoil. Using a simple scale analysis of energy balance, it was found that the maximum spread factor varies as Re1/5 when liquid viscosity is high and viscous effects govern the spreading behavior.

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