Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Equilibrium of liquid drops under the effects of rotation and acoustic flattening: results from USML-2 experiments in Space

C. P. LEE a1, A. V. ANILKUMAR a1, A. B. HMELO a1 and T. G. WANG a1
a1 Center for Microgravity Research and Applications, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA


Previous Space-based experiments (Wang et al. 1994a) showed that a rotating liquid drop bifurcates into a two-lobed shape at a lower critical angular velocity, if it is flattened acoustically by the leviating sound field. In this work, we undertake a systematic experimental study of the effect of acoustic flattening on the rotational bifurcation of a liquid drop. We also look into the complementary effect of rotation on the equilibrium of an acoustically drastically flattened drop. Theoretical models are developed for each of the two effects and then woven into a unified picture. The first effect concerns neutral equilibrium, while the second concerns loss of equilibrium, neither of them involving instability. The theories agree well with the experiments.

(Received January 13 1997)
(Revised August 27 1997)