A computer model of the explosive vaporization of single water droplets by pulsed CO2-laser radiation is compared with the relevant experiments. The model shows excellent quantitative agreement with the experiments, to our knowledge the first time such agreement has been observed. The importance of fluid mechanics during the pulse is demonstrated, and a second computer model illustrates how a spherically symmetric explosion can evolve even under conditions of nonuniform heating. The two models reconcile the differences between predictions made by Mie theory and observations of droplet heating.
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