Deformation and relaxation of viscous thin films under bouncing drops

Srinath Lakshman*, Walter Tewes, Kirsten Harth, Jacco H. Snoeijer, Detlef Lohse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Thin viscous liquid films subjected to impact events can deform. Here we investigate free-surface oil-film deformations that arise owing to the build up of air under the impacting and rebouncing of water drops. Using digital holographic microscopy we measure the three-dimensional surface topography of the deformed film immediately after the drop rebound with a resolution down to 20 nm. We first discuss how the film is initially deformed during impact as a function of film thickness film viscosity and drop impact speed. Subsequently we describe the slow relaxation process of the deformed film after the rebound. Scaling laws for the broadening of the width and the decay of the amplitude of the perturbations are obtained experimentally and found to be in excellent agreement with the results from a lubrication analysis. We finally arrive at a detailed spatio-Temporal description of the oil-film deformations that arise during the impact and rebouncing of water drops.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA3
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date4 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Lubrication theory
  • Thin films
  • Drops


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