Splash of impacting nanodroplets on solid surfaces

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

12 Scopus Citations
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  • Yi-Bo Wang
  • Yi-Feng Wang
  • Xin Wang
  • Ben-Xi Zhang
  • Yan-Ru Yang
  • Xiao-Dong Wang
  • Min Chen

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number094201
Journal / PublicationPhysical review fluids
Issue number9
Online published3 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


Using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, this study investigates the splash of water nanodroplets on hydrophilic to hydrophobic surfaces with static contact angles ranging from 30 ° to 105 ° in the ranges of We = 24.76-525 and Re = 18.43-65.51. Here, We is the Weber number, describing the ratio of inertial to capillary forces, and Re is the Reynolds number, defined as the ratio of inertial to viscous forces. Two splash patterns, internal breakup and prompt splash, are observed under normal conditions. The mechanisms behind these two patterns are found to be different from those of macroscale impacting droplets. The internal rupture of macroscale droplets is attributed to initial air holes on solid surfaces, whereas it arises from the vibration of a nanometer-thick spreading film for nanodroplets. The internal breakup of nanodroplets relies heavily on surface wettability because the attenuation of vibration is much more drastic on hydrophilic surfaces than hydrophobic surfaces owing to larger viscous dissipation rates. A damped harmonic vibration model is developed to characterize the vibration, which verifies the dependence of internal rupture on surface wettability. The prompt splash of macroscale droplets is initiated by air bubbles under the spreading lamella; however, the Rayleigh-Taylor instability of ejected rims caused by a rapidly decelerated spreading lamella gives rise to the prompt splash of nanodroplets. This mechanism is further verified by comparing the number of fingers predicted by the Rayleigh-Taylor instability theory with that obtained by MD simulations. Corona splash has been observed for macroscale droplets at standard atmospheric pressure conditions, but the present simulations show that an extremely high pressure of 1900 kPa is required to trigger it for nanodroplets.

Citation Format(s)

Splash of impacting nanodroplets on solid surfaces. / Wang, Yi-Bo; Wang, Yi-Feng; Wang, Xin et al.
In: Physical review fluids, Vol. 6, No. 9, 094201, 09.2021.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review