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Prince Rupert’s drop – Wikipedia

Prince Rupert’s drop – Wikipedia

2023-05-30 17:06:06

Glass object created by dripping molten glass into chilly water

Prince Rupert’s drops (also referred to as Dutch or Batavian tears)[1][2] are toughened glass beads created by dripping molten glass into chilly water, which causes it to solidify right into a tadpole-shaped droplet with an extended, skinny tail. These droplets are characterised internally by very excessive residual stresses, which give rise to counter-intuitive properties, equivalent to the power to face up to a blow from a hammer or a bullet on the bulbous finish with out breaking, whereas exhibiting explosive disintegration if the tail finish is even barely broken. In nature, comparable buildings are produced beneath sure situations in volcanic lava, and are referred to as Pele’s tears.

The drops are named after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who introduced them to England in 1660, though they have been reportedly being produced within the Netherlands earlier within the seventeenth century and had most likely been recognized to glassmakers for for much longer. They have been studied as scientific curiosities by the Royal Society and the unravelling of the ideas of their uncommon properties most likely led to the event of the method for the manufacturing of toughened glass, patented in 1874. Analysis carried out within the twentieth and twenty first centuries shed additional gentle on the explanations for the drops’ contradictory properties.


A determine describing a Prince Rupert’s drop, from Account of the Glass Drops (1661) by Sir Robert Moray.

Prince Rupert’s drops are produced by dropping molten glass drops into chilly water. The water quickly cools and solidifies the glass from the skin inward. This thermal quenching could also be described by way of a simplified mannequin of a quickly cooled sphere.[3] Prince Rupert’s drops have remained a scientific curiosity for almost 400 years attributable to two uncommon mechanical properties:[4] when the tail is snipped, the drop disintegrates explosively into powder, whereas the bulbous head can stand up to compressive forces of as much as 664,300 newtons (67,740 kgf).[5]

The explosive disintegration arises attributable to a number of crack bifurcation occasions when the tail is reduce – a single crack is accelerated within the tensile residual stress subject within the heart of the tail and bifurcates after it reaches a essential velocity of 1,450–1,900 metres per second (3,200–4,300 mph).[6][7] Given these excessive speeds, the disintegration course of attributable to crack bifurcation can solely be inferred by trying into the tail and using excessive velocity imaging strategies. That is maybe why this curious property of the drops remained unexplained for hundreds of years.[8]

The second uncommon property of the drops, particularly the energy of the heads, is a direct consequence of huge compressive residual stresses —as much as 700 megapascals (100,000 psi)— that exist within the neighborhood of the top’s outer floor.[2] This stress distribution is measured through the use of glass’s pure property of stress-induced birefringence and by using strategies of 3D photoelasticity. The excessive fracture toughness attributable to residual compressive stresses makes Prince Rupert’s drops one of many earliest examples of toughened glass.

Historical past[edit]

It has been advised that strategies for making the drops have been recognized to glassmakers because the instances of the Roman Empire.[9]

Typically attributed to Dutch inventor Cornelis Drebbel, the drops have been also known as lacrymae Borussicae (Prussian tears) or lacrymae Batavicae (Dutch tears) in up to date accounts.[10]

Verifiable accounts of the drops from Mecklenburg in North Germany seem as early as 1625.[11] The key of find out how to make them remained within the Mecklenburg space for a while, though the drops have been disseminated throughout Europe from there, on the market as toys or curiosities.

The Dutch scientist Constantijn Huygens requested Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle to research the properties of the drops; her opinion after finishing up experiments was {that a} small quantity of risky liquid was trapped inside.[12]

Though Prince Rupert didn’t uncover the drops, he performed a task of their historical past by bringing them to Britain in 1660. He gave them to King Charles II, who in flip delivered them in 1661 to the Royal Society (which had been created the earlier yr) for scientific research. A number of early publications from the Royal Society give accounts of the drops and describe experiments carried out.[13] Amongst these publications was Micrographia of 1665 by Robert Hooke, who later would uncover Hooke’s Law.[4] His publication laid out accurately most of what will be stated about Prince Rupert’s drops and not using a fuller understanding than existed on the time, of elasticity (to which Hooke himself later contributed) and of the failure of brittle supplies from the propagation of cracks. A fuller understanding of crack propagation needed to wait till the work of A. A. Griffith in 1920.[14]

Srinivasan Chandrasekar explaining the physics of Prince Rupert’s drops

In 1994, Srinivasan Chandrasekar, an engineering professor at Purdue University, and Munawar Chaudhri, head of the supplies group on the University of Cambridge, used high-speed framing pictures to look at the drop-shattering course of and concluded that whereas the floor of the drops experiences extremely compressive stresses, the within experiences excessive rigidity forces, making a state of unequal equilibrium which might simply be disturbed by breaking the tail. Nevertheless, this left the query of how the stresses are distributed all through a Prince Rupert’s drop.

In an extra research revealed in 2017, the group collaborated with Hillar Aben, a professor at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia utilizing a transmission polariscope to measure the optical retardation of sunshine from a crimson LED because it travelled by means of the glass drop, and used the info to assemble the stress distribution all through the drop. This confirmed that the heads of the drops have a a lot larger floor compressive stress than beforehand thought at as much as 700 megapascals (100,000 psi), however that this floor compressive layer can also be skinny, solely about 10% of the diameter of the top of a drop. This offers the floor a excessive fracture energy which implies that it’s essential to create a crack that enters the inside rigidity zone as a way to break the droplet. As cracks on the floor are inclined to develop parallel to the floor, they can not enter the stress zone however a disturbance within the tail permits cracks to enter the stress zone.[15]

A scholarly account of the early historical past of Prince Rupert’s drops is given within the Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, the place a lot of the early scientific research of the drops was carried out.[9]

Scientific makes use of[edit]

The method for the manufacturing of toughened glass by quenching was most likely impressed by the research of the drops, because it was patented in England by Parisian Francois Barthelemy Alfred Royer de la Bastie, in 1874, only one yr after V. De Luynes had revealed accounts of his experiments with them.[9]

It has been recognized since a minimum of the nineteenth century that formations much like Prince Rupert’s drops are produced beneath sure situations in volcanic lava.[16] Extra lately researchers on the University of Bristol and the University of Iceland have studied the glass particles produced by explosive fragmentation of Prince Rupert’s drops within the laboratory to raised perceive magma fragmentation and ash formation pushed by saved thermal stresses in lively volcanoes.[17]

Literary references[edit]

Due to their use as a celebration piece, Prince Rupert’s drops grew to become broadly recognized within the late seventeenth century—excess of at the moment. It may be seen that educated individuals (or these in “society”) have been anticipated to be aware of them, from their use within the literature of the day. Samuel Butler used them as a metaphor in his poem Hudibras in 1663,[18][19] and Pepys refers to them in his diary.[20]

The drops have been immortalized in a verse of the nameless Ballad of Gresham College (1663):

See Also

And that which makes their Fame ring louder,
With a lot adoe they shew’d the King
To make glasse Buttons flip to powder,
If off the[m] their tayles you doe however wring.
How this was donne by soe small Drive
Did price the Colledg a Month’s discourse.[21]

Diarist George Templeton Strong wrote (quantity 4, p. 122) of a hazardous sudden breaking apart of pedestrian-bearing ice in New York Metropolis’s East River throughout the winter of 1867 that “The ice flashed into fragments unexpectedly like a Prince Rupert’s drop.”

Alfred Jarry‘s 1902 novel Supermale makes reference to the drops in an analogy for the molten glass drops falling from a failed system meant to cross eleven thousand volts of electrical energy by means of the supermale’s physique.

Sigmund Freud, discussing the dissolution of army teams in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921), notes the panic that outcomes from the lack of the chief: “The group vanishes in mud, like a Prince Rupert’s drop when its tail is damaged off.”

E. R. Eddison‘s 1935 novel Mistress of Mistresses references Rupert’s drops within the final chapter as Fiorinda units off a complete set of them.

Within the 1940 detective novel There Came Both Mist and Snow by Michael Innes (J. I. M. Stewart), a personality incorrectly refers to them as “Verona drops”; the error is corrected in direction of the tip of the novel by the detective Sir John Appleby.

In his 1943 novella Conjure Wife, Fritz Leiber makes use of Prince Rupert drops as a metaphor for the volatility of a number of characters’ personalities. These small-town faculty college individuals appear to be placid and impervious, however “explode” at a mere “flick of the filament”.

Peter Carey devotes a chapter to the drops in his 1988 novel Oscar and Lucinda.

The title-giving suite to progressive rock band King Crimson‘s 1970 third studio album Lizard consists of each elements referring to a fictionalised model of Prince Rupert in addition to an prolonged part referred to as “The Battle of Glass Tears”.

See additionally[edit]

Additional studying[edit]


  1. ^ Guillemin, Amédée (1873). The Forces of Nature: A Popular Introduction to the Study of Physical Phenomena. MacMillan & Co. p. 435.
  2. ^ a b Aben, H.; Anton, J.; Õis, M.; Viswanathan, Ok.; Chandrasekar, S.; Chaudhri, M. M. (2016). “On the extraordinary energy of Prince Rupert’s drops”. Appl. Phys. Lett. 109 (23): 231903. Bibcode:2016ApPhL.109w1903A. doi:10.1063/1.4971339.
  3. ^ Narayanaswamy, O. S.; Gardon, Robert (1998). “Tempering glass spheres and related topics”. Glass Science and Expertise. 71: 120–128. Archived from the original on 2017-07-28. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  4. ^ a b Robert Hooke, Micrographia or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Our bodies made by Magnifying Glasses with Commentary and Inquiries thereupon (London, 1665), “Observation vii. of some Phaenomena of Glass Drops,” Archived 2016-11-07 on the Wayback Machine pp. 33–44.
  5. ^ How Strong Are Prince Rupert’s Drops? Hydraulic Press Test!, archived from the unique on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2021-11-10
  6. ^ Chandrasekar, S; Chaudhri, M. M. (1994). “The explosive disintegration of Prince Rupert’s drops”. Philosophical Journal B. 70 (6): 1195–1218. Bibcode:1994PMagB..70.1195C. doi:10.1080/01418639408240284.
  7. ^ Chaudhri, M. M. (1998). “Crack bifurcation in disintegrating Prince Rupert’s drops”. Philosophical Journal Letters. 78 (2): 153–158. Bibcode:1998PMagL..78..153C. doi:10.1080/095008398178147.
  8. ^ Davis, Edward Arthur (1999). Science In The Making. Nice Britain: Taylor & Francis. pp. 1994 B70. ISBN 0-7484-07677.
  9. ^ a b c Brodsley, Laurel; Frank, Charles; Steeds, John W. (October 1986). “Prince Rupert’s Drops”. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London. 41 (1): 1–26. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1986.0001. JSTOR 531493. S2CID 143527832.
  10. ^ Claud, Nic. le Cat (1756). “The Lacrymae Batavicae, or glass-drops, the tempering of steel, and effervescence, accounted for by the same principle”. Philosophical Transactions. Royal Society. 10 (2): 560–566. Archived from the unique on 2017-01-02.
  11. ^ Beckmann, Johann; Francis, William; Griffith, J. W. (1846). “Prince Rupert’s Drops – Lacrymae Vitreae”. A Historical past of Innovations, Discoveries, and Origins, Quantity II (4th ed.). pp. 241–245. Archived from the unique on 2017-01-02.
  12. ^ Akkerman, Nadine; Corporaal, Marguérite (19 Could 2004). “Mad Science Beyond Flattery: The Correspondence of Margaret Cavendish and Constantijn Huygens”. Early Fashionable Literary Research. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  13. ^ See additionally: Neri, Antonio with Christopher Merret, trans., The artwork of glass whereby are proven the wayes to make and color glass, pastes, enamels, lakes, and different curiosities / written in Italian by Antonio Neri; and translated into English, with some observations on the writer; whereunto is added an account of the glass drops made by the Royal Society, assembly at Gresham School (London, England: Printed by A.W. for Octavian Pulleyn, 1662), An Account of the Glass Drops, pp. 353–362.
  14. ^ Griffith, A. A. (1921). “The Phenomena of Rupture and Flow in Solids”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Collection A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Bodily Character. 221 (582–593): 163–98. Bibcode:1921RSPTA.221..163G. doi:10.1098/rsta.1921.0006. JSTOR 91192.
  15. ^ Zyga, Lisa (9 Could 2017). “Scientists solve 400-year-old mystery of Prince Rupert’s drops”. Science X community. Archived from the unique on 16 Could 2017. Retrieved 16 Could 2017.
  16. ^ Goodrich, Joseph (1829). “Real and supposed effect of igneous action”. The American Journal of Science and Arts. 16: 349. Archived from the unique on 3 November 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  17. ^ Cashman, Katharine; Nicholson, Emma; Rust, Alison; Gislason, Sigurdur (2010-08-05). “Breaking magma: Controls on magma fragmentation and ash formation” (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the unique on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  18. ^ Butler, S., Hudibras (Zachary Gray version, London, 1799), vol. 1, p. 390, lines 385–389; and see footnote p. 391.
  19. ^ John Wilders version (Oxford College Press, 1967)[page needed]
  20. ^ Pepys, S.: “The Diary” (ed. Robert Latham & William Matthews), vol. III (Berkeley and Los Angeles, College of California Press, 1970-76), 13 January 1662, p. 9.
  21. ^ Stimson, Dorothy (July 1932). “Ballad of Gresham Colledge”. Isis. 18 (1): 103–17. doi:10.1086/346689. JSTOR 224481. S2CID 143882964.

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