Pulsating-gliding transition in the dynamics of levitating liquid nitrogen droplets

Alexey Snezhko, Eshel Ben Jacob, Igor S. Aranson

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42 Scopus citations


Hot surfaces can cause levitation of small liquid droplets if the temperature is kept above the Leidenfrost point (220 °C for water) due to the pressure formed because of rapid evaporation. Here, we demonstrate a new class of pulsating-gliding dynamic transitions in a special setting of the Leidenfrost effect at room temperatures and above a viscous fluid for droplets of liquid nitrogen. A whole range of highly dynamic patterns unfolds when droplets of liquid nitrogen are poured on the surface of another, more viscous liquid at room temperature. We also discovered that the levitating droplets induce vortex motion in the supporting viscous liquid. Depending on the viscosity of the supporting liquid, the nitrogen droplets either adopt an oscillating (pulsating) star-like shape with different azimuthal symmetries (from 2-9 petals) or glide on the surface with random trajectories. Thus, by varying the viscosity of the supporting liquid, we achieve controlled morphology and dynamics of Leidenfrost droplets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043034
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Apr 21 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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