Spontaneous jumping, bouncing and trampolining of hydrogel drops on a heated plate

Jonathan T. Pham, Maxime Paven, Sanghyuk Wooh, Tadashi Kajiya, Hans Jürgen Butt, Doris Vollmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The contact between liquid drops and hot solid surfaces is of practical importance for industrial processes, such as thermal spraying and spray cooling. The contact and bouncing of solid spheres is also an important event encountered in ball milling, powder processing, and everyday activities, such as ball sports. Using high speed video microscopy, we demonstrate that hydrogel drops, initially at rest on a surface, spontaneously jump upon rapid heating and continue to bounce with increasing amplitudes. Jumping is governed by the surface wettability, surface temperature, hydrogel elasticity, and adhesion. A combination of low-adhesion impact behavior and fast water vapor formation supports continuous bouncing and trampolining. Our results illustrate how the interplay between solid and liquid characteristics of hydrogels results in intriguing dynamics, as reflected by spontaneous jumping, bouncing, trampolining, and extremely short contact times.

Original languageEnglish
Article number905
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Doroto Truszkowska for help with the infrared camera. This work was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship (J.T.P.), the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program No. 722497—LubISS (D.V.), and the ERC advanced grant SUPRO 340391 and ITN COWET (H.-J.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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