Coupling the Leidenfrost effect and elastic deformations to power sustained bouncing Journal Article

Author(s): Waitukaitis, Scott R; Zuiderwijk, Antal; Souslov, Anton; Coulais, Corentin; van Hecke, Martin
Article Title: Coupling the Leidenfrost effect and elastic deformations to power sustained bouncing
Abstract: The Leidenfrost effect occurs when an object near a hot surface vaporizes rapidly enough to lift itself up and hover. Although well understood for liquids and stiff sublimable solids, nothing is known about the effect with materials whose stiffness lies between these extremes. Here we introduce a new phenomenon that occurs with vaporizable soft solids - the elastic Leidenfrost effect. By dropping hydrogel spheres onto hot surfaces we find that, rather than hovering, they energetically bounce several times their diameter for minutes at a time. With high-speed video during a single impact, we uncover high-frequency microscopic gap dynamics at the sphere/substrate interface. We show how these otherwise-hidden agitations constitute work cycles that harvest mechanical energy from the vapour and sustain the bouncing. Our findings suggest a new strategy for injecting mechanical energy into a widely used class of soft materials, with potential relevance to fields such as active matter, soft robotics and microfluidics.
Journal Title: Nature Physics
Volume: 13
Issue 11
ISSN: 1745-2473
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group  
Date Published: 2017-07-24
Start Page: 1095
End Page: 1099
DOI: 10.1038/nphys4194
Notes: A.S. acknowledges funding from the Delta Institute for Theoretical Physics and the hospitality of the IBS Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems, Daejeon, South Korea. We acknowledge funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research through grants VICI No. NWO-680-47-609 (M.v.H. and S.R.W.), VENI No. NWO-680-47-445 (C.C.) and VENI No. NWO-680-47-453 (S.R.W.).
Open access: yes (repository)