Formation of microbeads during vapor explosions of Field's metal in water

Nadia Kouraytem, Erqiang Li, Sigurdur T Thoroddsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


We use high-speed video imaging to investigate vapor explosions during the impact of a molten Field's metal drop onto a pool of water. These explosions occur for temperatures above the Leidenfrost temperature and are observed to occur in up to three stages as the metal temperature is increased, with each explosion being more powerful that the preceding one. The Field's metal drop breaks up into numerous microbeads with an exponential size distribution, in contrast to tin droplets where the vapor explosion deforms the metal to form porous solid structures. We compare the characteristic bead size to the wavelength of the fastest growing mode of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 17 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): FCC/1/1975
Acknowledgements: The research described herein was funded by KAUST. We acknowledge financial support from CCRC at KAUST, Extreme Combustion FCC/1/1975. We thank Ivan Vakarelski for help with some of the experiments.


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