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It’s either sink or skim: when solid bodies meet liquid layers

A common question connects the nostalgia of a childhood game (“ducks and drakes”) and the practical industrial problem of aircraft icing – what makes a good skimmer? More formally, what properties of the solid body and its interaction with the liquid layer determine a successful skimming motion? For “ducks and drakes” the goal is the personal satisfaction of a good skim, whilst for industry the aim is to prevent ice build-up on aircraft. To this end we consider several aspects of fluid-body skimming interactions in order to try and better understand this complex fluid dynamic process. Focussing on smooth curved bodies and heavy bodies, I will present several key insights gained from both analytical and numerical investigations that help to shed light on the underlying physics.