Architecture of a self-fragmenting droplets cascade

Gautier Verhille, Chihiro Inoue, Emmanuel Villermaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report quantitative imaging experiments describing the three-dimensional (3D) bursting cascade of droplets from a liquid melt reacting with the oxygen of air which explode sequentially to produce ever smaller fragments. The 3D space-time resolved trajectories of the fragmenting drops reveal an arborescent structure of branchings defining the cascade steps, each random in direction and shortening along the cascade, in a way we determine. The phenomenon is a unique and prototypical illustration of the so-called Richardson regime, namely, an accelerated cascade towards smaller scales. The phenomenon, which coincides with the early time dispersion period of a Brownian motion, featuring here ever shrinking steps, is well captured by a Langevin dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL053101
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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