Vitrification and levitation of a liquid droplet on liquid nitrogen
Y S Song et al
The vitrification of a liquid occurs when ice crystal formation is prevented in the cryogenic environment through ultrarapid cooling. In general, vitrification entails a large temperature difference between the liquid and its surrounding medium. In our droplet vitrification experiments, we observed that such vitrification events are accompanied by a Leidenfrost phenomenon, which impedes the heat transfer to cool the liquid, when the liquid droplet comes into direct contact with liquid nitrogen. This is distinct from the more generally observed Leidenfrost phenomenon that occurs when a liquid droplet is self-vaporized on a hot plate. In the case of rapid cooling, the phase transition from liquid to vitrified solid (i.e., vitrification) and the levitation of droplets on liquid nitrogen (i.e., Leidenfrost phenomenon) take place simultaneously. Here, we investigate these two simultaneous physical events by using a theoretical model containing three dimensionless parameters (i.e., Stefan, Biot, and Fourier numbers). We explain theoretically and observe experimentally a threshold droplet radius during the vitrification of a cryoprotectant droplet in the presence of the Leidenfrost effect.
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