liquid-dynamics

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A drop of water that impacts a flat post will form a liquid sheet that eventually breaks apart into droplets when surface tension can no longer hold the water together against the power of momentum flinging the water outward. But what happens if that initial drop of water is filled with particles? Initially, the particle-laden drop’s impact is similar to the water’s – it strikes the post and expands radially in a sheet that is uniformly filled with particles. But then the particles begin to cluster due to capillary attraction, which causes particles at a fluid interface to clump up. You’ve seen the same effect in a bowl of Cheerios, when the floating O’s start to group up in little rafts. The clumping creates holes in the sheet which rapidly expand until the liquid breaks apart into many particle-filled droplets. To see more great high-speed footage and comparisons, check out the full video.  (Image credit and submission: A. Sauret et al., source)

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It’s tough to get much closer to flowing lava than this video of freshly forming coastline in Hawaii. Lava is complex fluid, with viscous properties that vary significantly with chemical composition, temperature and deformation. Here, despite being very viscous, the lava flows quickly–perhaps even turbulently. Several times it forms a heap and even shows signs of the rope-coiling instability familiar from viscous fluids like honey. All in all, it’s quite mesmerizing. (Video credit: K. Singson; submitted by Stuart B.)

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John Tickle walks (quickly) on a pool of (non-Newtonian) custard, but what happens when he stands still?