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Onset of disintegration and corona in water drops falling at terminal velocity in horizontal electric fields

Kamra, AK and Bhalwankar, RV and Sathe, AB (1993) Onset of disintegration and corona in water drops falling at terminal velocity in horizontal electric fields. Journal of Geophysical Research, 98D. pp. 12901-12912.

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The onset of disintegration and corona in water drops falling at their terminal velocity in a vertical wind tunnel and exposed to horizontal electric fields has been investigated. Contrary to previous observations, the drops elongate in horizontal direction and distort into the shape of a concavo-convex lens with a convex bottom and a sharp-edged rim facing upward. Drops of diameter < 6.6 mm which do not break up in absence of electric field in this wind tunnel, break up in presence of the horizontal electric field. The values of horizontal electric field required for instability of the drops are much lower than those either predicted by Taylor's criterion of instability or observed in previous experimental studies. The criterion for instability of water drops freely suspended in presence of horizontal electric fields can be expressed as FH (ro/σ)½ = 0.98 ± 0.03 where FH is the horizontal electric field in esu, ro is the drop radius in centimeters and σ is the surface tension in dynes per centimeter. Most of the drops produce corona just before their breakup. Among various drops that are freely suspended in the wind tunnel, one by one, the number of drops that produce corona and/or breakup increases with increase in the electric field and/or drop size. While all drops of diameter ≥ 7.1 mm produce corona in a horizontal electric field of 500 kV/m, only a small fraction of very large drops of 8.0 mm diameter produce corona when the electric field is equal to 200 kV/m. Comparatively, very low values of instability field observed in our experiment are qualitatively explained because of long exposure of the freely suspended drops to the horizontal electric fields. The drops become unstable and produce corona when the drop's oscillation amplitude overshoots its equilibrium value and the plane of the drop oscillation coincides with the direction of electric field. From the results, it seems likely that horizontal electric fields in the bases of thunderclouds may cause disintegration of large raindrops and the occurrence of corona from their surfaces may trigger a lightning discharge.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Geophysical Union
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology
Depositing User: IITM Library
Date Deposited: 14 May 2016 05:17
Last Modified: 14 May 2016 05:17

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