Symmetry breaking in drop bouncing on curved surfaces

Yahua Liu, Matthew Andrew, Jing Li, Julia M. Yeomans, Zuankai Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

369 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of liquid drops on solid surfaces is ubiquitous in nature, and of practical importance in many industrial processes. A drop hitting a flat surface retains a circular symmetry throughout the impact process. Here we show that a drop impinging on Echevaria leaves exhibits asymmetric bouncing dynamics with distinct spreading and retraction along two perpendicular directions. This is a direct consequence of the cylindrical leaves that have a convex/concave architecture of size comparable to the drop. Systematic experimental investigations on mimetic surfaces and lattice Boltzmann simulations reveal that this novel phenomenon results from an asymmetric momentum and mass distribution that allows for preferential fluid pumping around the drop rim. The asymmetry of the bouncing leads to 1/440% reduction in contact time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10034
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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