Spreading of Normal Liquid Helium Drops

David Mallin, Kenneth Langley, Andres A. Aguirre-Pablo, Matthew L. Wallace, Michael Milgie, Sigurdur T Thoroddsen, P. Taborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have used video imaging and interferometric techniques to investigate the dynamics of spreading of drops of 4He on a solid surface for temperatures ranging from 5.2 K (near the critical point) to 2.2 K (near Tλ). After an initial transient, the drops become pancake-shaped with a radius that grows as R(t) ≈ t α, with α =0.149 ± 0.002. The drops eventually begin to shrink due to evaporation driven by gravitational and curvature effects, which limits their lifetime to about 1000 s. Although helium completely wets the substrate, and the spreading takes place over a pre-existing adsorbed film, a distinct contact line with a contact angle of order one degree is visible throughout this process.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 21 2020


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