On explosive boiling of a multicomponent Leidenfrost drop

Sijia Lyu, Huanshu Tan, Yuki Wakata, Xianjun Yang, Chung K. Law, Detlef Lohse, Chao Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


The gasification of multicomponent fuel drops is relevant in various energy-related technologies. An interesting phenomenon associated with this process is the self-induced explosion of the drop, producing a multitude of smaller secondary droplets, which promotes overall fuel atomization and, consequently, improves the combustion efficiency and reduces emissions of liquid-fueled engines. Here, we study a unique explosive gasification process of a tricomponent droplet consisting of water, ethanol, and oil ("ouzo"), by high-speed monitoring of the entire gasification event taking place in the well-controlled, levitated Leidenfrost state over a superheated plate. It is observed that the preferential evaporation of the most volatile component, ethanol, triggers nucleation of the oil microdroplets/nanodroplets in the remaining drop, which, consequently, becomes an opaque oil-in-water microemulsion. The tiny oil droplets subsequently coalesce into a large one, which, in turn, wraps around the remnant water. Because of the encapsulating oil layer, the droplet can no longer produce enough vapor for its levitation, and, thus, falls and contacts the superheated surface. The direct thermal contact leads to vapor bubble formation inside the drop and consequently drop explosion in the final stage.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2016107118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2021


  • internal interaction
  • Leidenfrost state
  • multicomponent drop
  • mutual solubility differentials
  • volatility differentials
  • Multicomponent drop
  • Volatility differentials
  • Mutual solubility differential
  • Internal interaction


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