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Peculiar Occurrence Needs Explanation

  1. Nov 5, 2012 #1
    Greetings friends,

    I'm an engineering student and I currently work in a restaurant and I've observed a beautifully interesting phenomena while washing the dishes in the stainless steel sink. I'm very interested as to what causes it.

    While I'm drying dishes that have just been passed through sanitizer, the sanitizer drops from the rack above the sink right onto the wet surface of the sink. The instant it hits, the drop of sanitizer explodes in all directions on the surface of the sink, almost like a firework exploding. The exploded droplets ease to halt and slowly disappear. It may seem a little lame just explaining it, but I get lost in the sight of this.

    Can anybody go into detail as to what is happening? It's killing me!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2012 #2
    might have something to do with the thin film of water on the sink. the sanitizer drop is disrupted by impact with the sink surface and the resulting droplets skid along the wet surface of the sink while it diffuses into the water. Resulting viscous losses slow it down while its diffusing and eventually it disappears because it completely diffuses into the water.

    Now what'd be cool is if you could make a mathematical model for that. I'd say the drop splashing into droplets is really hard to model but diffusion into a surface while sliding on the surface, I think, you can write down an equation with appropriate boundary conditions, and then compare to what you observe.
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