Drop (liquid)

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A drop or droplet is a small volume of liquid, bounded completely or almost completely by free surfaces.

Surface tension

File:Pendant drop test.svg
The pendant drop test illustrated.
File:Pearl droplet.jpg
Droplet frozen by flash. www.liquidartgallery.com

The simplest way to form a drop is to allow liquid to flow slowly from the lower end of a vertical tube of small diameter. When the pendant drop exceeds a certain size it is no longer stable and detaches itself. Drops may also be formed by the condensation of a supercooled vapor or by atomization of a larger mass of liquid. The mass m (or weight mg) of the largest drop that can hang from the end of a tube of radius a can be found from the formula

where λ is the surface tension of the liquid, α is the angle of contact with the tube, and g is the acceleration due to gravity.[citation needed] This relationship is the basis of a convenient method of measuring surface tension, commonly used in the petroleum industry.


Due to the different refractive index of water and air, refraction and reflection occur on the surfaces of raindrops, leading to rainbow formation.


The major source of sound when a droplet hits a liquid surface is the resonance of excited bubbles trapped underwater. These oscillating bubbles are responsible for most liquid sounds, such as running water or splashes, as they actually consist of many drop-liquid collisions.[1][2]


The classic shape associated with a drop (with a pointy end in its upper side) is actually an optical effect due to light reflections and the drops rapid movement. The shape of a drop falling through a gas is actually more or less spherical. Larger drops tend to be flatter on the bottom part due to the pressure of the gas they move through.[3]


See also


  1. Prosperetti, Andrea (1993). "The impact of drops on liquid surfaces and the underwater noise of rain" (PDF). Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. 25: 577–602. doi:10.1146/annurev.fl.25.010193.003045. Retrieved 2006-12-09. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  2. Rankin, Ryan C. (2005). "Bubble Resonance". The Physics of Bubbles, Antibubbles, and all That. Retrieved 2006-12-09. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. "Water Drop Shape". Retrieved 2008/03/08. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links


bg:Капка da:Dråbe de:Tropfen eo:Guto id:Tetesan it:Goccia (liquido) he:טיפה nl:Druppel no:Dråpe nn:Drope sl:Kaplja sv:Droppe yi:טראפן (פליסיגקייט)