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Published on Jan 10, 2011
A droplet of silicon oil is released above the surface of a silicon oil bath that is vertically shaken. When the acceleration of the plate is sufficient, the droplet is able to bounce on the plate without touching it. Indeed, a thin air layer is always squeezed between the bouncer and the bath. The size of the droplet is 0.94 mm (diameter). The bath is oscillated 20 times per second while the amplitude is gradually increased. The video shows what happens to the droplet for 3 accelerations, namely 0.4, 0.9 and 1.3 times the gravity g . The sustained bouncing below 1 g is allowed by the deformation of the droplet, which behaves has a classical bouncing ball. At low acceleration (0.4 g ), the droplet bounces in phase with the bath and hits the bath once per period. When the acceleration is increased (0.9 g ), the droplet experiences period doubling, i.e. a small jump is followed by a large jump that is followed by a small jump and so on. Finally, at large acceleration (1.3 g ), the droplet chaotically bounces. The deformations are such large that small droplets are ejected out of the bouncing droplet.