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The amazing bouncing droplet

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Published on Jan 3, 2012

When a low viscosity oil droplet is laid onto the surface of a high viscosity oil liquid, it
stays at rest for a moment before coalescence. The coalescence can be delayed and sometimes inhibited by injecting fresh air under the droplet. This can happen when the surface of the bath oscillates vertically. In this case the droplet basically bounces on the interface.
We observe that the conditions for bouncing depends on the frequency, more precisely we
observe resonance when the eigenfrequency of the droplet is excited. Lord Rayleigh expressed the droplet deformation modes in terms of spherical harmonics Y m. We present different experimental modes of deformation with the corresponding spherical harmonic model. In some conditions, a droplet presents a non axi-symmetric mode of deformation. That leads to a rotation of the droplet and to a horizontal displacement.

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