Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics

Celebrating the physics of all that flows. Ask a question, submit a post idea or send an email. You can also follow FYFD on Twitter and Google+. FYFD is written by Nicole Sharp, PhD.

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When conditions are just right, the low pressure at the center of a wingtip vortex can drop the local temperature below the dew point, causing condensation to form. Here vortices are visible extending from the tips of the propellers in addition to the wingtip. Because of the spinning of the propeller and the forward motion of the airplane, the prop vortices extend backwards in a twisted spiral that will quickly break down into turbulence. The same behavior can be observed with helicopter blades. (Photo credit: benurs)

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