Thursday, November 06, 2008

Gallery of Fluid Motion

The motion of fluids can be surprising, beautiful, and sometimes just funny to watch. At its annual meetings, the Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society organizes exhibits with stunning photographs and videos of fluid. Each year, awards are assigned to "photographs and videos [that] illustrate both experimental and numerical investigations of a wide variety of flow phenomena. Judged by a distinguished international panel of referees, winning entries were selected based upon criteria of scientific merit, originality, and artistry/aesthetic appeal."

Here is a winning entry from the Gallery of Fluid Motion 2008, chosen from the exhibition at the Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in Salt Lake City last November (click on the still to get to the movie, requires some patience and Quicktime):

"BLACK HOLE" NUCLEATION IN A SPLASH OF MILK, by Laurent Courbin, James C. Bird, Andrew Belmonte, and Howard A. Stone: This video shows the impact dynamics of a millimeter-size drop of milk onto a superhydrophobic substrate that is spinning at a constant rate. (explanation as PDF file).

And here, a winning entry from the Gallery of Fluid Motion 2007 (Bee's absolute favourite):

CREEPING, WALKING AND JUMPING DROP by A. Renaudin, E. Galopin, V. Thomy, C. Druon, and F. Zoueshtiagh: This video shows the movement of a deionized water drop provoked by surface acoustic waves. (explanation as PDF file)

Don't be put off by the lengthy, silent-picture style explanations of the experimental setup at the beginning of the clips.

To see the amazing behavior of these drops rewards a little patience - enjoy!


  1. Hi Stefan & Bee,

    A neat bit on fluid dynamics and I must say I’m with Bee as having the dancing droplet as being my favourite. In watching I was wondering if any of this could be applied to increase the ‘liquidity’ in our markets. Perhaps if we envision the droplets as the banks I was brought to think what could stand to be the transducer. With the stubbornness (inaction) they’ve been exhibiting that might suggest to be a 'cattle prod' :-)



  2. AIP's stellar web site says: "This service requires a web browser and/or firewall/network configuration that supports and accepts cookies."

    One might guess that basic technical competence -- and a desire to disseminate information widely and easily -- weren't criteria when they were "designing" their web site. But given that it seems to exist mostly as an excecise in paid-access journal parasitism, one ought not to be surprised, ought one?

    These videos best viewed with the VistaView 3-D NagGoggles(tm) with Flash, ActiveX and cookies enabled for your AIP accountant's pleasure!


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