New insights into head-on bouncing of unequal-size droplets on a wetting surface

Saroj Ray, Yu Han, Zongyu Yue, Hengjie Guo, Christopher Yu Hang Chao, Song Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The impact of a liquid droplet with another droplet or onto a solid surface are important basic processes that occur in many applications such as agricultural sprays and inkjet printing, and in nature such as pathogens transport by raindrops. We investigated the head-on collision of unequal-size droplets of the same liquid on wetting surfaces using the direct numerical simulations technique at different size ratios. The unsteady Navier-Stokes equations are solved and the liquid-gas interface is tracked using the geometric volume-of-fluid method. The numerical model is validated by comparing simulation results of two extreme cases of droplets bouncing with the experimental data from previous studies and the agreement is quite accurate. The validated model is employed to simulate droplets bouncing at several size ratios at different Weber numbers and Ohnesorge number. Two distinct regimes are identified, namely, the inertial regime, where the restitution coefficient is a constant value close to 0.3, the viscous regime, where the restitution coefficient declines. To understand the bouncing behaviour, the velocity field is analysed and an energy budget calculation is performed. The distribution of the sessile droplet energy is found to be important and the sessile droplet surface energy is calculated by its deformation characteristics such as crater depth. Finally, a scaling analysis is performed to rationalize the insensitivity of the coefficient of restitution in the inertial regime, and its decline in the viscous regime, at large size ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA25
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2024


  • capillary waves
  • computational methods
  • drops

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'New insights into head-on bouncing of unequal-size droplets on a wetting surface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this