Liquid drops can be kept from touching a plane solid surface by a gas stream entering from underneath, as it is observed for water drops on a heated plate, kept aloft by a stream of water vapor. We investigate the limit of small flow rates, for which the size of the gap between the drop and the substrate becomes very small, to obtain a full analytical description of stationary drop states and their stability. Above a critical drop radius no stationary drops can exist, below the critical radius two solutions coexist. However, only the solution with the smaller gap width is stable, the other is unstable. We compare to experimental data and use boundary integral simulations to show that unstable drops develop a gas "chimney" that breaks the drop in its middle.
|Journal||Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Mar 2009|