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Effect of ambient gas on cavity formation for sphere impacts on liquids

Williams, Hollis; Sprittles, James; Padrino, Juan C.; Denissenko, Petr


Hollis Williams

James Sprittles

Juan C. Padrino

Petr Denissenko


Formation of a splash crown and a cavity following the impact of a sphere on a body of liquid is a classical problem. In the related problem of a droplet splashing on a flat surface, it has been established that the properties of the surrounding gas can influence the splashing threshold. At lower impact speeds, this is due mainly to the influence of gas kinetic effects, since the height of the gas lubrication film which is displaced during dynamic wetting is often comparable to the mean free path of the gas. At higher Weber and Reynolds numbers, on the other hand, inertial effects dominate and the density of the gas becomes important in determining whether a splash occurs. In this article, sphere impacts on a liquid body are investigated in a rarefied atmosphere using high-speed photography. It is found that the threshold entry speed for cavity formation is influenced by the density of the surrounding gas, whereas changing the mean free path of the gas has no effect. We attribute this phenomenon to the gas slowing the sealing of the thin crown sheet behind the sphere. This assertion is supported with experimental measurements of the liquid sheet thickness. In the range of parameters considered, the splash crown influences the movement of the contact line.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 3, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 23, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Dec 13, 2022
Journal Physical Review Fluids
Print ISSN 2469-990X
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 9
Article Number 094003
Public URL