New Method Reveals Minimum Heat for Levitating Drops

When water is sprinkled into an extremely hot frying pan, the droplets levitate just above the pan’s surface, sliding across it on vapor layers. This odd physical phenomenon, known as the Leidenfrost effect, was first described nearly three centuries ago, but many mysteries remain about its characteristics. Emory Physics graduate student Dana Harvey and Associate Professor Justin Burton developed an electrical technique to explain the surprising robustness of Leidenfrost vapor layers in water once it forms at around 240 degrees Celsius, and pinpointed the temperature — 140 degrees Celsius — at which the vapor layer explodes and collapses.

Dana Harvey, Joshua Méndez Harper, and Justin C. Burton. Minimum Leidenfrost Temperature on Smooth Surfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 104501 (2021). utm_source=ebulletin&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Emory_Report_EB_140921

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