Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Horizontal bridges in polar dielectric liquids

  • Jakob WoisetschlägerEmail author
  • Adam D. Wexler
  • Gert Holler
  • Mathias Eisenhut
  • Karl Gatterer
  • Elmar C. Fuchs
Research Article


When a high-voltage direct-current is applied to two beakers filled with polar liquid dielectrica like water or methanol, a horizontal bridge forms between the two beakers. By repeating a version of Pellat’s experiment, it is shown that a horizontal bridge is stable by the action of electrohydrodynamic pressure. Thus, the static and dynamic properties of the phenomenon called a ‘floating water bridge’ can be explained by the gradient of Maxwell pressure, replenishing the liquid within the bridge against any drainage mechanism. It is also shown that a number of liquids can form stable and long horizontal bridges. The stability of such a connection, and the asymmetry in mass flow through such bridges caused by the formation of ion clouds in the vicinity of the electrodes, is also discussed by two further experiments.


Electric Field Strength Liquid Bridge Refractive Index Change Dielectric Liquid Polar Liquid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was performed in the TTIW-cooperation framework of Wetsus, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology ( together with Graz University of Technology, Austria ( Wetsus is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the European Union Regional Development Fund, the Province of Fryslân, the City of Leeuwarden, the EZ/Kompas program of the ‘Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland’ and the participating companies. The authors would like to thank the whole research team and staff of WETSUS, the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry at the Graz University of Technology, especially Dr. Xinghua Guo for providing some of the solvents, and the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources at Graz University of Technology for sharing the Photron high-speed camera. With great pleasure, the authors furthermore wish to thank Profs. Marie-Claire Bellissent-Funel (Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, Saclay), Eshel Ben-Jacob (Tel Aviv University), Mariano Bizzarri (Università La Sapienza, Roma), Harry Bruning (Wetsus), Cees Buisman (Wetsus), Gert-Jan Euverink (Wetsus), Friedemann Freund (NASA SETI Institute, California), Emilio Del Giudice (Universitá di Milano), Ferenc Hajdu (Central Research Institute for Chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest), Franz Heitmeir (Graz University of Technology), Hideo Nishiumi (Chem. Eng. Lab., Hosei University, Japan), Laurence Noirez (Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, Saclay), Gerald H. Pollack (University of Washington), Alan Soper (Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, ISIS, Oxford), Piergiorgio Spaggiari (Istituti Ospitalieri Di Cremona, Milano, Italy), José Teixeira (Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, Saclay), Giuseppe Vitiello (Universitá degli studi di Salerno), Vladimir Voeikov (M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University), John Watterson (Ashmore, Australia) as well as Luewton L.F. Agostinho, Cees Kamp, Astrid H. Paulitsch-Fuchs, Martina Sammer and Doekle Yntema (Wetsus) for the ongoing discussion on the water bridge phenomenon (in alphabetic order).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jakob Woisetschläger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adam D. Wexler
    • 2
  • Gert Holler
    • 3
  • Mathias Eisenhut
    • 4
  • Karl Gatterer
    • 5
  • Elmar C. Fuchs
    • 2
  1. 1.Experimental Turbomachinery Research and Optical Measurement Group, Institute for Thermal Turbomachinery and Machine DynamicsGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  2. 2.Wetsus, Center of Excellence for Sustainable Water TechnologyLeeuwardenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute of Electrical Measurement and Measurement Signal ProcessingGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  4. 4.Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food ChemistryGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria
  5. 5.Institute of Physical and Theoretical ChemistryGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria

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