Experiments on binary drop collisions within an index-matched liquid were conducted for Weber numbers (We) in the range of 1-50. Drop pairs of water/glycerin mixture were injected horizontally into silicone oil and, due to gravitational effects, travelled on downward trajectories before colliding. A dual-field high-speed PIV measurement system was employed to quantify drop trajectories and overall collision conditions while simultaneously examining detailed velocity fields at the collision interface. Sequences of velocity and vorticity fields were computed for both larger and smaller fields of view. In the We range examined, both rebounding and coalescing behavior occurred. Coalescence was found to result from a combination of vortical flow within drops and strong drop deformation characteristic of higher We. Flow through the centers of opposing ring vortices, strengthened by drop deformation, enhanced drainage of the thin film in the impact region, leading to film rupture and coalescence.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund through Grant 42939-AC9 and the National Science Foundation through Grant CTS-0320327.