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Impacts and fragmentation in liquid-liquid systems: Planet formation in the lab

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Impact and fragmentation processes in immiscible liquids occurred on a massive scale during the accretion of the Earth when high-speed planetary collisions melted the Earth’s mantle, releasing the metal core of the impacting planetary body in a deep magma ocean. I will present two series of experiments on (1) the instability and fragmentation of blobs of a heavy liquid released into a lighter immiscible liquid, and (2) their impacts with a stratified interface between two immiscible liquids. For sufficiently turbulent conditions, we find a previously unobserved regime where fragmentation into drops occurs as a sudden and single event inside a self-similar vortex ring. I will discuss implications of our scaling laws on turbulent entrainment for geochemical models of Earth formation and stratification of the Earth’s core.

This talk is part of the Geophysical and Environmental Processes (DAMTP/BPI) series.

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