Drag reduction by leidenfrost vapor layers

Ivan U. Vakarelski, Jeremy O. Marston, Derek Y.C. Chan, Sigurdur T. Thoroddsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Scopus citations


We demonstrate and quantify a highly effective drag reduction technique that exploits the Leidenfrost effect to create a continuous and robust lubricating vapor layer on the surface of a heated solid sphere moving in a liquid. Using high-speed video, we show that such vapor layers can reduce the hydrodynamic drag by over 85%. These results appear to approach the ultimate limit of drag reduction possible by different methods based on gas-layer lubrication and can stimulate the development of related energy saving technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214501
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 23 2011


Cite this

Vakarelski, I. U., Marston, J. O., Chan, D. Y. C., & Thoroddsen, S. T. (2011). Drag reduction by leidenfrost vapor layers. Physical Review Letters, 106(21), [214501]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.214501