Self-propelled jumping upon drop coalescence on Leidenfrost surfaces

Fangjie Liu, Giovanni Ghigliotti, James J. Feng & Chuan-Hua Chen

J. Fluid Mech. 752, 22-38 (2014)

Abstract - Self-propelled jumping upon drop coalescence has been observed on a variety of textured superhydrophobic surfaces, where the jumping motion follows the capillary-inertial velocity scaling as long as the drop radius is above a threshold. In this paper, we report an experimental study of the self-propelled jumping on a Leidenfrost surface, where the heated substrate gives rise to a vapor layer on which liquid drops float. For the coalescence of identical water drops, we have tested initial drop radii ranging from 20 μm to 500 μm, where the lower bound is related to the spontaneous takeoff of individual drops and the upper bound to gravitational effects. Regardless of the approaching velocity prior to coalescence, the measured jumping velocity is around 0.2 when scaled by the capillary-inertial velocity. This constant non-dimensional velocity holds for the experimentally accessible range of drop radii, and we have found no cutoff radius for the scaling as opposed to prior experiments on textured superhydrophobic surfaces. The Leidenfrost experiments quantitatively agree with our numerical simulations of drop coalescence on a flat surface with a contact angle of 180°, suggesting that the cutoff is likely due to drop-surface interactions unique to the textured superhydrophobic surfaces.