Toward a physical characterization of raindrop collision outcome regimes

F. Y. Testik, A. P. Barros, L. F. Bliven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A comprehensive raindrop collision outcome regime diagram that delineates the physical conditions associated with the outcome regimes (i.e., bounce, coalescence, and different breakup types) of binary raindrop collisions is proposed. The proposed diagram builds on a theoretical regime diagram defined in the phase space of collision Weber numbers We and the drop diameter ratio p by including critical angle of impact considerations. In this study, the theoretical regime diagram is first evaluated against a comprehensive dataset for drop collision experiments representative of raindrop collisions in nature. Subsequently, the theoretical regime diagram is modified to explicitly describe the dominant regimes of raindrop interactions in (We, p) by delineating the physical conditions necessary for the occurrence of distinct types of collision-induced breakup (neck/filament, sheet, disk, and crown breakups) based on critical angle of impact consideration. Crown breakup is a subtype of disk breakup for lower collision kinetic energy that presents distinctive morphology. Finally, the experimental results are analyzed in the context of the comprehensive collision regime diagram, and conditional probabilities that can be used in the parameterization of breakup kernels in stochastic models of raindrop dynamics are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1097-1113
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloud droplets
  • Cloud microphysics
  • Drop size distributions
  • Laboratory/physical models
  • Stochastic models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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