Experiments in Fluids

, 57:57 | Cite as

More investigations in capillary fluidics using a drop tower

  • Andrew Wollman
  • Mark Weislogel
  • Brently Wiles
  • Donald Pettit
  • Trevor Snyder
Research Article


A variety of contemplative demonstrations concerning intermediate-to-large length scale capillary fluidic phenomena were made possible by the brief weightless environment of a drop tower (Wollman and Weislogel in Exp Fluids 54(4):1, 2013). In that work, capillarity-driven flows leading to unique spontaneous droplet ejections, bubble ingestions, and multiphase flows were introduced and discussed. Such efforts are continued herein. The spontaneous droplet ejection phenomena (auto-ejection) is reviewed and demonstrated on earth as well as aboard the International Space Station. This technique is then applied to novel low-g droplet combustion where soot tube structures are created in the wakes of burning drops. A variety of new tests are presented that routinely demonstrate ‘puddle jumping,’ a process defined as the spontaneous recoil and ejection of large liquid drops from hydrophobic surfaces following the step reduction in ‘gravity’ characteristic of most drop towers. The inverse problem of ‘bubble jumping’ is also demonstrated for the case of hydrophilic surfaces. A variety of puddle jump demonstrations are presented in summary as a means of suggesting the further exploitation of drop towers to study such large length scale capillary phenomena.


Contact Angle PDMS International Space Station Drop Volume Drop Tower 
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 in part completed under NASA cooperative agreement NNX09AP66A and NASA/Oregon Space Grant Consortium grant NNX10AK68H, the latter of which was used in part to support A. Wollman and B. Wiles. We also acknowledge the 3D print support of the Xerox Corporation and 3-D Systems.


  1. Chunhui L (1993) Microgravity drop tower facilities. Struct Environ Eng 4:227Google Scholar
  2. Corning D (1998) Product information Dow Corning 200 fluid. Ref. no. 22-0069N-01
  3. Dietrich DL, Nayagam V, Hicks MC, Ferkul PV, Dryer FL, Farouk T, Shaw BD, Suh HK, Choi MY, Liu YC et al (2014) Droplet combustion experiments aboard the international space station. Microgravity Sci Technol. doi: 10.1007/s12217-014-9372-2 Google Scholar
  4. Dittus H (1991) Drop tower ‘Bremen’: a weightlessness laboratory on earth. Endeavour 15(2):72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kirko I, Dobychin E, Popov V (1970) Phenomenon of the capillary. Sov Phys Dokl 15:442Google Scholar
  6. Leidenfrost JG (1756) De aquae communis nonnullis qualitatibus tractatus. Ovenius, DuisburgGoogle Scholar
  7. Lekan J, Neumann E, Sotos R (1993) Capabilities and constraints of NASA’s ground-based reduced gravity facilities In: The second international microgravity combustion workshop (SEE N93-20178 07-29), vol 1, pp 45–60Google Scholar
  8. Marchese A, Dryer F, Colantonio R, Nayagam V (1996) Microgravity combustion of methanol and methanol/water droplets: Drop tower experiments and model predictions. In: Symposium (international) on combustion, vol 26. Elsevier, pp 1209–1217.
  9. McGraw JD, Li J, Tran DL, Shi AC, Dalnoki-Veress K (2010) Plateau-Rayleigh instability in a torus: formation and breakup of a polymer ring. Soft Matter 6:1258. doi: 10.1039/B919630G CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mehrabian H, Feng JJ (2014) Auto-ejection of liquid drops from capillary tubes. J Fluid Mech 752:670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Meseguer J, Sanz-Andrés A, Pérez-Grande I, Pindado S, Franchini S, Alonso G (2014) Surface tension and microgravity. Eur J Phys 35(5):055010.
  12. Moláček J, Bush JW (2012) A quasi-static model of drop impact. Phys Fluids (1994-present) 24(12):127103.
  13. Nguyen TD, Fuentes-Cabrera M, Fowlkes JD, Diez JA, González AG, Kondic L, Rack PD (2012) Competition between collapse and breakup in nanometer-sized thin rings using molecular dynamics and continuum modeling. Langmuir 28(39):13960. doi: 10.1021/la303093f CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pairam E, Fernández-Nieves A (2009) Generation and stability of toroidal droplets in a viscous liquid. Phys Rev Lett 102(23):234501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.234501 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Richard D, Clanet C, Quéré D (2002) Surface phenomena: contact time of a bouncing drop. Nature 417(6891):811.
  16. Snyder TJ, Andrews M, Weislogel M, Moeck P, Stone-Sundberg J, Birkes D, Hoffert MP, Lindeman A, Morrill J, Fercak O et al (2014) 3D systems’ technology overview and new applications in manufacturing, engineering, science, and education. 3D Print Addit Manuf 1(3):169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Steinberg T (2008) Reduced gravity testing and research capabilities at new 2.0 second drop tower. J Achiev Mater Manuf Eng 31(2):822Google Scholar
  18. Suñol F, González-Cinca R (2011) Droplet collisions after liquid jet breakup in microgravity conditions. J Phys Conf Ser 327(1):012026.
  19. Texier BD, Piroird K, Quéré D, Clanet C (2013) Inertial collapse of liquid rings. J Fluid Mech 717:R3.
  20. Vitz E (1990) Magic sand: modeling the hydrophobic effect and reversed-phase liquid chromatography. J Chem Educ 67(6):512. doi: 10.1021/ed067p512 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Weislogel MM (2012) Recent capillary fluid research relevant to spacecraft system design. In: 7th International symposium on two-phase systems for ground and space applications. Beijing, China, 17–21 Sept 2012Google Scholar
  22. White FM, Corfield I (2006) Viscous fluid flow, vol 3. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Wollman A (2012) Capillarity-driven droplet ejection. Master’s thesis, Portland State University.
  24. Wollman A, Weislogel M (2013) New investigations in capillary fluidics using a drop tower. Exp Fluids 54(4):1. doi: 10.1007/s00348-013-1499-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yao Z, Bowick M (2011) The shrinking instability of toroidal liquid droplets in the Stokes flow regime. Eur Phys J E 34(3):32. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2011-11032-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zhang L, Li ZD, Zhao JF (2014) Rebound of liquid droplets caused by sudden decrease of gravity. Interfacial Phenom Heat Transf 2(1):41CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Wollman
    • 1
  • Mark Weislogel
    • 1
  • Brently Wiles
    • 1
  • Donald Pettit
    • 2
  • Trevor Snyder
    • 3
  1. 1.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.NASA, Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.3D SystemsWillsonvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations