Splashing phenomena during liquid droplet impact

Jie Liu, Henry Vu, Sam S. Yoon, Richard A. Jepsen, Guillermo Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Splashing is a phenomenon often observed during liquid droplet impact onto a solid surface. The threshold of splashing is known to be related to droplet size, impact velocity, and physical properties of the liquid, but the mechanisms that initiate splashing are not understood completely. In accordance with the Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) instability analysis, recent studies have shown that ambient gas density has a significant effect on the threshold and trajectory of splashing. In this study, the effects of droplet velocity, impact angle, and ambient gas pressure (or density) on the threshold of splashing and the motion of the ambient gas surrounding the droplet were examined. Experimental observations of splashing were carried out with a droplet of 1.7 mm in diameter, while varying droplet velocity, impact angle, and ambient pressure. An empirical correlation was derived using our and other published data to determine the threshold of splashing based on the aforementioned parameters. Also, a numerical simulation using the volume of fluid method was carried out to calculate the gas velocities surrounding the droplet during impact. The results of this model gave supportive evidence that K-H instability is a suitable instability theory that helps explain the splash phenomenon with consideration of the gas motion surrounding the droplet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-310
Number of pages14
JournalAtomization and Sprays
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Droplet
  • Impact
  • Instability
  • Splash
  • Splash threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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