AskDefine | Define droplet

Dictionary Definition

droplet n : a tiny drop

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. a very small drop


very small drop
  • Dutch: druppeltje
  • Finnish: tippa, pisara
  • French: gouttelette
  • Spanish: gotita

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

otheruses Drop A drop or droplet is a small volume of liquid, bounded completely or almost completely by free surfaces.

Surface tension

The simplest way to form a drop is to allow liquid to flow slowly from the lower end of a vertical tube of small diameter. When the pendant drop exceeds a certain size it is no longer stable and detaches itself. Drops may also be formed by the condensation of a supercooled vapor or by atomization of a larger mass of liquid. The mass m (or weight mg) of the largest drop that can hang from the end of a tube of radius a can be found from the formula
\,mg = 3 \pi a \lambda \cos \alpha
where λ is the surface tension of the liquid, α is the angle of contact with the tube, and g is the acceleration due to gravity. This relationship is the basis of a convenient method of measuring surface tension, commonly used in the petroleum industry.


The term droplet is a diminuative form of 'drop' - and typically used for liquid particles of <500µm diameter (although this is for guidance rather than a 'rule'). In spray application, droplets are usually described by their perceived size (i.e., diameter) whereas the dose (or number of infective particles in the case of biopesticides) is a function of their volume. This increases by a cubic function relative to diameter (π.d3/6000 to convert µm into picolitres); thus a 50µm droplet represents a dose in 65 pl and a 500 µm drop represents a dose in 65 nanolitres (65,450 pl).


Due to the different refractive index of water and air, refraction and reflection occur on the surfaces of raindrops, leading to rainbow formation.


The major source of sound when a droplet hits a liquid surface is the resonance of excited bubbles trapped underwater. These oscillating bubbles are responsible for most liquid sounds, such as running water or splashes, as they actually consist of many drop-liquid collisions.


The classic shape associated with a drop (with a pointy end in its upper side) is actually an optical effect due to light reflections and the drops rapid movement. The shape of a drop falling through a gas is actually more or less spherical. Larger drops tend to be flatter on the bottom part due to the pressure of the gas they move through.


See also


droplet in Arabic: قطرة
droplet in Bulgarian: Капка
droplet in Danish: Dråbe
droplet in German: Tropfen
droplet in Spanish: Gota de agua
droplet in Esperanto: Guto
droplet in French: Goutte (physique)
droplet in Indonesian: Tetesan
droplet in Italian: Goccia (liquido)
droplet in Hebrew: טיפה
droplet in Dutch: Druppel
droplet in Japanese: 滴
droplet in Norwegian: Dråpe
droplet in Norwegian Nynorsk: Drope
droplet in Polish: Kropla
droplet in Portuguese: Gota (líquido)
droplet in Russian: Капля
droplet in Slovenian: Kaplja
droplet in Swedish: Droppe
droplet in Yiddish: טראפן (פליסיגקייט)
droplet in Chinese: 水滴

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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