Climate and Weather


What is the shape of a raindrop?

Although a raindrop has been illustrated as being pear-shaped or tear-shaped, high-speed photographs reveal that a large raindrop has a spherical shape with a hole not quite through it (giving it a doughnut-like appearance). Water surface tension pulls the drop into this shape. As a drop larger than 0.08 inch (2 millimeters) in diameter falls, it will become distorted. Air pressure flattens its bottom and its sides bulge. If it becomes larger than 0.25 inch (6.4 millimeters) across, it will keep spreading crosswise as it falls and will bulge more at its sides, while at the same time, its middle will thin into a bow-tie shape. Eventually in its path downward, it will divide into two smaller spherical drops.


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