Modeling Leidenfrost Levitation of Soft Elastic Solids

Jack Binysh, Indrajit Chakraborty, Mykyta V. Chubynsky, Vicente luis díaz Melian, Scott r. Waitukaitis, James E. Sprittles, Anton Souslov

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The elastic Leidenfrost effect occurs when a vaporizable soft solid is lowered onto a hot surface. Evaporative flow couples to elastic deformation, giving spontaneous bouncing or steady-state floating. The effect embodies an unexplored interplay between thermodynamics, elasticity, and lubrication: despite being observed, its basic theoretical description remains a challenge. Here, we provide a theory of elastic Leidenfrost floating. As weight increases, a rigid solid sits closer to the hot surface. By contrast, we discover an elasticity-dominated regime where the heavier the solid, the higher it floats. This geometry-governed behavior is reminiscent of the dynamics of large liquid Leidenfrost drops. We show that this elastic regime is characterized by Hertzian behavior of the solid’s underbelly and derive how the float height scales with materials parameters. Introducing a dimensionless elastic Leidenfrost number, we capture the crossover between rigid and Hertzian behavior. Our results provide theoretical underpinning for recent experiments, and point to the design of novel soft machines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number168201
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

J. B. and A. S. acknowledge the support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through New Investigator Award No. EP/T000961/1. A. S. acknowledges the support of Royal Society under Grant No. RGS/R2/202135. J. E. S. acknowledges EPSRC Grants No. EP/N016602/1, EP/S022848/1, EP/S029966/1, and EP/P031684/1.

© 2023 authors. Published by the American Physical Society. Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the ""Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article's title, journal citation, and DOI.


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