Drag reduction by leidenfrost vapor layers

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 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


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