Dynamic Fluid-Solid Interactions at the Capillary Scale

10 June 2021
Daniel Harris

Understanding the motion of small bodies at a fluid interface has relevance to a range of natural systems and technological applications. In this talk, we discuss two systems where capillarity and fluid inertia govern the dynamics of millimetric particles at a fluid interface.

In the first part, we present a study of superhydrophobic spheres impacting a quiescent water bath.  Under certain conditions particles may rebound completely from the interface - an outcome we characterize in detail through a synthesis of experiments, modeling, and direct numerical simulation.  In the second half, we introduce a system wherein millimetric disks trapped at a fluid interface are vertically oscillated and spontaneously self-propel.  Such "capillary surfers" interact with each other via their collective wavefield and self-assemble into a myriad of cooperative dynamic states.  Our experimental observations are well captured by a first theoretical model for their dynamics, laying the foundation for future investigations of this highly tunable active system.

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  • Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar