The transient force profile of low-speed droplet impact: measurements and model

Academic Article


  • The transient force exerted by a low-speed liquid droplet impinging onto a flat rigid surface is investigated experimentally. The measurements employ a high-sensitivity piezo-electric sensor, along with a high-speed camera, and cover four decades in droplet Reynolds number and greater than two decades in Weber number. Across these ranges, the peak of individual force profiles span from 3 mN to over 1300 mN. Once normalised, the force–time profiles support the existence of an inertially dominated self-similar regime. Within this regime, previous numerical and theoretical studies predict a $\sqrt{t}$ dependence of impact normal force during the initial pre-peak rise. While our measurements confirm this finding, they also indicate that, after the peak force the profiles exhibit an exponential decay. This long-time decay law suggests treatment of the momentum transport from the droplet using a lumped model. An observed linear dependence between the force and force decay rate supports this approach. The reason for the efficacy of treating this system via a lumped model apparently connects to the physics right at the surface that limit the rate of momentum transport from the droplet to the surface. This is explored by estimating the momentum transfer by solely using the deforming droplet shape, but under the condition of negligible momentum gradients within the droplet. The short- and long-time solutions are combined and the resulting model equation is shown to accurately cover the entire force–time profile.
  • Authors

  • Mitchell, Benjamin R
  • Klewicki, Joseph C
  • Korkolis, Yannis P
  • Kinsey, Brad
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 25, 2019
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • drops
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 300
  • End Page

  • 322
  • Volume

  • 867