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What shape are raindrops?

Every child I know likes to draw raindrops with a bulbous bottom and a point on the top.  This may be in part due to the path of water droplets on glass, which do tend to have that shape due to surface tension and friction between the water and the glass surface.  But what shape are falling raindrops?  Using high speed photography and wind tunnel studies, scientists have shown that small raindrops are essentially spherical in shape due to the strong influence of the water’s surface tension.  Bigger raindrops actually look more like hamburger buns, with a flattened shape caused by the wind pushing up on the bottom as they fall.  If they get too big, they tend to break up into smaller droplets, although I have seen some humongous ones in summer thunderstorms on occasion.  You can read more about it at SkyWise here.

Source: Commons Wikimedia

Source: Commons Wikimedia