Video: When water levitates
Have you ever seen a drop of water navigate a maze? It's possible thanks to the same phenomenon that lets you know if a griddle is hot enough for pancake batter. Water droplets that dance and skitter across a hot surface instead of boil away on the spot are experiencing the Leidenfrost effect. Understanding Leidenfrost—first described more than 200 years ago—helped engineers make more efficient steam engines. Today, scientists are using high-speed cameras to better characterize how superhot water behaves on metal surfaces. The investigation might lead to improvements in power generation.