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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Posts tagged "mixing"

The ethereal shapes of inks and paints falling through water make fascinating subjects. Here the ink appears to rise because the photographs are upside-down. The fluid forms mushroom-like plumes and little vortex rings. The strands that split apart into tiny lace-like fingers are an example of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, which occurs when a denser fluid sinks into a less dense one. Similar fingering can occur on much grander scales, as well, like in the Crab Nebula. These images come from photographer Luka Klikovac's "Demersal" series. (Photo credit: L. Klikovac)

The colors of a soap film are directly related to their thickness. If a film becomes thin enough (~10 nanometers), it appears black. (Here’s why.This video shows the thinning of a vertical soap film. Normally, this is a linear process, with gravity pulling the fluid downward and progressively thinning the film from top to bottom at a constant rate. At 0:20 a cold rod slowly contacts the film, adding a thermal driver for the film’s thinning. Two large counter-rotating convection cells form underneath the rod, with weaker secondary vortices in the lower corners of the film. This drastically increases mixing in the film. Gradually small black spots, indicating very thin areas of the film, form and advect. Eventually these spots stretch, forming long tails. The thinning of the film kicks up to an exponential rate until the film becomes uniformly thin. (Video credit: M. Winkler et al.)

The Richtmyer-Meshkov instability occurs when two fluids of differing density are hit by a shock wave. The animation above shows a cylinder of denser gas (white) in still air (black) before being hit with a Mach 1.2 shock wave. The cylinder is quickly accelerated and flattened, with either end spinning up to form the counter-rotating vortices that dominate the instability. As the vortices spin, the fluids along the interface shear against one another, and new, secondary instabilities, like the wave-like Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, form along the edges. The two gases mix quickly. This instability is of especial interest for the application of inertial confinement fusion. During implosion, the shell material surrounding the fuel layer is shock-accelerated; since mixing of the shell and fuel is undesirable, researchers are interested in understanding how to control and prevent the instability. (Image credit: S. Shankar et al.)

The APS Division of Fluid Dynamics conference begins this Sunday in Pittsburgh. I’ll be giving a talk about FYFD Sunday evening at 5:37pm in Rm 306/307. I hope to see some of you there!

Turbulence is an excellent mixer. Here two fluorescent dyes are injected into a turbulent water jet. Flow is from the bottom of the image toward the top. The dyes are quickly mixed into the background fluid by momentum convection, their concentration decreasing with increased distance from the source. Large-scale structures like the eddies visible in this image drive this convection of momentum in turbulent flows. In contrast, consider laminar flows, where momentum and molecular diffusion dominate how fluids move. In such laminar flows, it’s even possible to unmix two fluids, a feat that cannot be accomplished in the jet above. (Photo credit: M. Kree et al.; via @AIP_Publishing)

Reader favoringfire asks:

Hi! Maybe you can help me: I’ve seen a pic revolving around Tumblr from the Danish city of Skagen showing the Baltic and North sea meeting. Where they meet the ocean is two very distinct hues of blue—what captions say are “two opposing tides with different densities.” Tides? Currents w/different temps often are often diff color from one another. But can “tides” be of different “densities???”

After some searching, I think the photo above is probably the one you’ve seen represented as where the Baltic and North Seas meet. It turns out, however, that it’s not. It’s a photo from an Alaskan cruise taken by Kent Smith. Fluid dynamically, though, it’s still very interesting! What we see here is a sharp gradient between regions with very different densities. One side contains lots of freshwater from rivers fed by melting glaciers, which creates a very different density from the general seawater.

It’s not true, however, that the two won’t mix. This border is not a static phenomenon but one that is ever-changing due to currents and the diffusion of one fluid into another. In a sense, this photo is very much the sea-level version of photos like these which show the massive scale of sediment transport and nutrient mixing that occur in our oceans. 

(Photo credit: K. Smith)

This lovely video from Ruslan Khasanov showcases the beautiful interplay of surface tension, diffusion, and immiscibility in common fluids. With soy sauce, oil, ink, soap, and a little gasoline, he creates a mesmerizing world of color and motion. It’s a great reminder of the wonders that populate our daily lives, if we just look closely enough to see them. (Video credit: R. Khasanov; via Wired; submitted by Trevor)

Here on Earth, placing a dense layer of fluid atop a less dense layer is unstable. Specifically, the situation causes the interface between the two fluids to break down in what is known as the Rayleigh-Taylor instability.The video above shows a 2D numerical simulation of this breakdown, with the darker, denser fluid on top. The waviness of the initial interface provides a perturbation—a small disturbance—which grows in time. The two fluids spiral into one another in a fractal-like mushroom pattern. The continued motion of the dense fluid downward and the lighter fluid upward mixes the entire volume toward a uniform equilibrium. For those interested in the numerical methods used, check out the original video page. (Video credit: Thunabrain)

A drop of fluorescent dye falling into quiescent water forms fantastical structures that are a mixture of vorticity, turbulence, and molecular diffusion. The horseshoe-like shape near the front of the drop is a typical shape for two fluids strained by moving past one another. The main section of the drop billows outward like a parachute, but the turbulence of its wake stretches the dye into fine threads that quickly disperse in the water. (Photo credit: D. Quinn et al.)

A drop of fluorescent dye falling into quiescent water forms fantastical structures that are a mixture of vorticity, turbulence, and molecular diffusion. The horseshoe-like shape near the front of the drop is a typical shape for two fluids strained by moving past one another. The main section of the drop billows outward like a parachute, but the turbulence of its wake stretches the dye into fine threads that quickly disperse in the water. (Photo credit: D. Quinn et al.)

In experiments, it can be difficult to track individual fluid structures as they flow downstream. Here researchers capture this spatial development by towing a 5-meter flat plate past a stationary camera while visualizing the boundary layer - the area close to the plate. The result is that we see turbulent eddies evolving as they advect downstream. Despite the complicated and seemingly chaotic flow field, the eye is able to pick out patterns and structure, like the merging of vortices that lifts eddies up into turbulent bulges and the entrainment of freestream fluid into the boundary layer as the eddies turn over or collapse. It is also a great demonstration of how the Reynolds number relates to the separation of scales in a turbulent flow. Notice how much richer the variety of length-scale is for the higher Reynolds number case and how thoroughly this mixes the boundary layer. (Video credit: J. H. Lee et al.)

Mixing immiscible liquids—like oil and water—is tough. The best one can usually do is create an emulsion, in which droplets of one fluid are suspended in another. The series of images above shows a double emulsion consisting of oil and water that’s been formed by bouncing the compound droplet on a vibrating bath. The vibration of the liquid surface keeps the droplet from coalescing with the bath and the deformation provides mixing. The top row shows the initial impact while the bottom row of images shows the droplet after many bounces. As time goes on, the layer of oil around the compound drop becomes a cluster of tiny droplets contained within the water portion of the drop. (Photo credit: D. Terwagne et al.)