The force of impacting rain†
Drop impacts are difficult to characterize due to their transient, non-stationary nature. We discuss the force generated during such impacts, a key quantity for animals, plants, roofs or soil erosion. Although a millimetric drop has a modest weight, it can generate collision forces on the order of thousand times this weight. We measure and discuss this amplification, considering natural parameters such as drop radius and density, impact speed and response time of the substrate. We finally imagine two kinds of devices allowing us to deduce the size of the raindrop from impact forces.