Water Drops in Hot Oil

Enrique Soto
Andrew Belmonte
The G.W. Pritchard Labs
Penn State University

Roberto Zenit
Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Viscoelastic Fracture

Have you ever wondered what happens when a drop of water falls in hot oil? We did and we made an experiment!

A high-speed video at 3000 frames per second was recorded. Drops of water at room temperature were released in hot oil, which had a temperature higher than that of the boiling point of water. Once the drop reaches the bottom of the container, it sticks to the surface with a certain contact angle. Then, part of the drop vaporizes. The vapor expands inside the drop and deforms its interface. The way in which the vapor expands, either smooth or violent, depends on the location of the nucleation point and oil temperature. The surface roughness is generated by vapor bubble contraction and expansion. This mechanism makes the noise and the explosion splashes the oil everywhere.

This work was funded by Conacyt, DGAPA, NSF.


Brennen, C.E . Fission of collapsing cavitation bubbles, J Fluid Mech, 472, 153-166 (2002) 

Reporters and Editors

Reporters may freely use these images. Credit: The G.W. Pritchard Labs, Penn State University