Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

"Crack, buzz, and plop: the coupled mechanics of jetting citrus, flying insects, and splashing projectiles”


March 11, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Howey School of Physics




University of Central Florida


 Natural systems often inspire new methods by which to control fluids, or conversely use fluids to control systems. Three fluid mechanic systems that might come to mind include: the jetting of microdroplets when peeling an orange, the droplet ejection off of a mosquito wing, and the splash suppression provided by floating toilet paper during defecation. These phenomena at the interface of biology and fluid mechanics can provide engineers with useful, inspired information for future designs. Here we study the explosive dispersal of oil emitted from ‘cracked’ glands in the peels of citrus fruit. The jetting oil undergoes an extreme acceleration to reach velocities in excess of 10 m/s. On a slightly larger scale, the method mosquitoes use to ‘buzz’ their wings free of deposited water drops prompts a look into how flexible surfaces may be vibrated to self-dry. We find drop ejection is dependent on drop and wing properties, and wing motion in this highly-coupled system.  On yet a larger scale, the dynamics of the entry of solids into liquid baths, such as the ‘plop’ of restroom use, is heavily influenced by free surface conditions.


Andrew Dickerson is a fluid dynamicist with expertise in the mechanics of interfaces, and explores problems in which the dynamics fluids and their solid boundaries are highly coupled. His work is often inspired by problems stemming from biology, aimed at uncovering the physics of living systems from antifouling and insect flight to pine tree interactions with rainfall. Dr. Dickerson is an 2019 NSF CAREER award recipient to study the tuning of jet and splash characteristics with compliant and heterogenous boundaries. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.