MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Does the height of spilled water affect the size of the splatter?

Date: Sun Nov 7 15:24:40 2004
Posted By: Nauzad Tantra, MSc, Manufacturing Systems,
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1099614716.Ph

Hi Derek,
Yes, you are right. The higher the level from which you spill the water,
the greater will be the area of the splatter.

This is because when you raise any object you spend your energy, which is
converted into potential energy. Potential energy is the energy that is
stored in a body due to its height. The higher you raise an object, the
more will be the potential energy stored in it.

When you drop that object (the object is a liquid (ie: water) in your case,
this potential energy gets converted into kinetic energy, which is
essentially velocity. What this means is that if the object is raised
higher, it will gain more velocity (speed in simpler terms) when it hits
the ground. 

When it hits the ground, the ground does not allow it to go any further
down and hence the droplet has to move away. Thus it moves in a direction
away from the centre (and hence the splatter all around the point at which
it drops).

Since it has  a higher kinetic energy it to moves further away from the
centre before coming to rest on the ground.

Hope that helps. In case you need any further clarifications, feel free to
contact us again.


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