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Artificial tektites: an experimental technique for capturing the shapes of spinning drops

Baldwin, Kyle A.; Butler, Samuel L.; Hill, Richard J.A.

Authors

Kyle A. Baldwin

Samuel L. Butler

Richard J.A. Hill



Abstract

Determining the shapes of a rotating liquid droplet bound by surface tension is an archetypal problem in the study of the equilibrium shapes of a spinning and charged droplet, a problem that unites models of the stability of the atomic nucleus with the shapes of astronomical-scale, gravitationally-bound masses. The shapes of highly deformed droplets and their stability must be calculated numerically. Although the accuracy of such models has increased with the use of progressively more sophisticated computational techniques and increases in computing power, direct experimental verification is still lacking. Here we present an experimental technique for making wax models of these shapes using diamagnetic levitation. The wax models resemble splash-form tektites, glassy stones formed from molten rock ejected from asteroid impacts. Many tektites have elongated or ‘dumb-bell’ shapes due to their rotation mid-flight before solidification, just as we observe here. Measurements of the dimensions of our wax ‘artificial tektites’ show good agreement with equilibrium shapes calculated by our numerical model, and with previous models. These wax models provide the first direct experimental validation for numerical models of the equilibrium shapes of spinning droplets, of importance to fundamental physics and also to studies of tektite formation.

Citation

Baldwin, K. A., Butler, S. L., & Hill, R. J. (in press). Artificial tektites: an experimental technique for capturing the shapes of spinning drops. Scientific Reports, 5, https://doi.org/10.1038/srep07660

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 3, 2014
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 21, 2017
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Article Number 7660
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/srep07660
Public URL http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/42079
Publisher URL https://www.nature.com/articles/srep07660
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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