Raindrops splash before they hit the ground


WHEN does a raindrop splash? Surprisingly, the process begins before it makes contact. A liquid drop hitting a surface often flattens into a thin sheet that then bounces to form a crown shape. Previous experiments have suggested the surrounding air plays a role: a droplet doesn’t splash so easily when the air pressure is low, instead spreading out into a thin pancake. Shreyas Mandre of Harvard University and colleagues ran computer simulations of liquid drops hitting a solid surface,
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