Drop impact on superheated surfaces

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Jan 20;108(3):036101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.036101. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


At the impact of a liquid droplet on a smooth surface heated above the liquid's boiling point, the droplet either immediately boils when it contacts the surface ("contact boiling"), or without any surface contact forms a Leidenfrost vapor layer towards the hot surface and bounces back ("gentle film boiling"), or both forms the Leidenfrost layer and ejects tiny droplets upward ("spraying film boiling"). We experimentally determine conditions under which impact behaviors in each regime can be realized. We show that the dimensionless maximum spreading γ of impacting droplets on the heated surfaces in both gentle and spraying film boiling regimes shows a universal scaling with the Weber number We (γ~We(2/5)), which is much steeper than for the impact on nonheated (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) surfaces (γ~We(1/4)). We also interferometrically measure the vapor thickness under the droplet.