From Bouncing to Floating: The Leidenfrost Effect with Hydrogel Spheres

Scott Waitukaitis, Kirsten Harth, Martin Van Hecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


The Leidenfrost effect occurs when a liquid or stiff sublimable solid near a hot surface creates enough vapor beneath it to lift itself up and float. In contrast, vaporizable soft solids, e.g., hydrogels, have been shown to exhibit persistent bouncing - the elastic Leidenfrost effect. By carefully lowering hydrogel spheres towards a hot surface, we discover that they are also capable of floating. The bounce-to-float transition is controlled by the approach velocity and temperature, analogously to the "dynamic Leidenfrost effect." For the floating regime, we measure power-law scalings for the gap geometry, which we explain with a model that couples the vaporization rate to the spherical shape. Our results reveal that hydrogels are a promising pathway for controlling floating Leidenfrost objects through shape.

Original languageEnglish
Article number048001
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2018


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