Splashing on elastic membranes: The importance of early-time dynamics

Rachel E. Pepper, Laurent Courbin, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


We study systematically the effect of substrate compliance on the threshold for splashing of a liquid drop using an elastic membrane under variable tension. We find that the splashing behavior is strongly affected by the tension in the membrane and splashing can be suppressed by reducing this tension. The deflection of the membrane upon droplet impact is measured using a laser sheet, and the results allow us to estimate the energy absorbed by the film upon drop impact. Measurements of the velocity and acceleration of the spreading drop after impact indicate that the splashing behavior is set at very early times after, or possibly just before, impact, far before the actual splash occurs. We also provide a model for the tension dependence of the splashing threshold based on the pressure in the drop upon impact that takes into account the interplay between membrane tension and drop parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number082103
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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