|Impact of Beads and Drops on a Repellent Solid Surface: A Unified Description |
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We investigate freely expanding sheets formed by ultrasoft gel beads, and liquid and viscoelastic drops, produced by the impact of the bead or drop on a silicon wafer covered with a thin layer of liquid nitrogen that suppresses viscous dissipation thanks to an inverse Leidenfrost effect. Our experiments show a unified behavior for the impact dynamics that holds for solids, liquids, and viscoelastic fluids and that we rationalize by properly taking into account elastocapillary effects. In this framework, the classical impact dynamics of solids and liquids, as far as viscous dissipation is negligible, appears as the asymptotic limits of a universal theoretical description. A novel material-dependent characteristic velocity that includes both capillary and bulk elasticity emerges from this unified description of the physics of impact.