Paper accepted in Physics of Fluids

Updated: May 10

TITLE: Droplet impact on immiscible liquid pool: Multi-scale dynamics of entrapped air cushion at short timescales

TEAM: Durbar Roy, Sophia M, Srinivas Rao, and Saptarshi Basu

ABSTRACT: We have detected unique hydrodynamic topology in thin air film surrounding the central air dimple formed during drop impact on an immiscible liquid pool. The pattern resembles spinodal and finger-like structures typically found in various thin condensed matter systems. However, similar structures in thin entrapped gas films during drop impacts on solids or liquids have not been reported to date. The thickness profile and the associated dewetting dynamics in the entrapped air layer are investigated experimentally and theoretically using high-speed reflection interferometric imaging and linear stability analysis. We attribute the formation of multi-scale thickness perturbations, associated ruptures, and finger-like protrusions in the draining air film as a combined artifact of thin-film and Saffman–Taylor instabilities. The characteristic length scales depend on the air layer dimensions, the ratio of the liquid pool to droplet viscosity, and the air–water to air–oil surface tension.

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