Abstract

The rate at which a motionless droplet evaporates can be measured continuously and precisely by determining the period of the intensity fluctuation of laser light reflected off the center of the droplet. The back scattered light is the coherent sum of light reflected from the external and the internal surfaces of the droplet; under typical conditions the back scattered light intensity oscillates at about 2 Hz or 3 Hz. This method is applied to pure water droplets in the diameter range from 0.6 mm to 1.8 mm, supported by bead thermistors and beaded glass fibers, and the results are compared with the quasi-stationary theory of Maxwell. Our measurements show that, after steady state is reached, the rate of change of diameter is inversely proportional to the diameter, as predicted in the quasi-stationary theory. Our experiments give a somewhat slower evaporation rate than the theory predicts; this discrepancy can be eliminated if one assumes that the surface temperature of the droplet is somewhat lower than measured with the bead thermistor. Using the optical method, mechanical resonances of the droplet can be sensitively detected; acoustically induced shape resonances are briefly investigated.

© 1968 Optical Society of America

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