Thursday, March 24, 2005

Splatter doesn't suck

Sucking Away the Splatter -- Cho 2005 (324): 4 -- sciencenow:
It seems obvious and inevitable that a fast-moving droplet will splatter when it hits a hard surface. Researchers have studied the distribution of droplet sizes and energies in such splashes, and physicists Lei Xu, Sidney Nagel, and colleagues at the University of Chicago were searching for ways to control those sizes and energies when they discovered something unexpected: By pumping away some of the surrounding air they could eliminate the splatter entirely.
The liquid forms a supersonic shock wave on impact, and more viscous liquid splatters more. A cool little example of how science works.