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 "nucleation"

Pyrocumulus clouds tower tall above a wildfire in these photos taken last week from an Oregon National Guard F-15C. Most cumulus clouds form when the sun-warmed surface heats air, causing it to rise and carry moisture upward where it condenses to form clouds. In pyrocumulus clouds, the driving heat is supplied by a forest fire or volcanic eruption. The hot, rising air carries smoke and soot particles upward, where they become nucleation sites for condensation. Pyrocumulus clouds can be especially turbulent, and the gusting winds they produce can exacerbate wildfires. In some cases, the clouds can even develop into a pyrocumulonimbus thunderstorm with rain and lightning.  (Photo credit: J. Haseltine; via NASA Earth Observatory)

Hitting a glass bottle full of a non-carbonated drink can shatter the bottle due to cavitation, but doing the same with a carbonated beverage can make the bottle overflow with foam. The video above breaks down the physics of this bar prank. It all begins with nucleation and the tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide that form in the liquid. Striking the top of the bottle generates a compression wave that travels through the liquid, shrinking bubbles as it passes. When it hits the bottom of the bottle, it gets reflected as an expansion wave that expands the bubbles. This reflection happens several times between the free surface of the liquid and the bottom of the bottle. The rapid collapse-and-expansion of the bubbles makes them implode into a cloud of tinier bubbles that expands until the local supply of carbon dioxide is used up. At this point, the buoyancy of the bubbles carries them upward in plumes, creating more bubbles with the dissolved carbon dioxide nearby. And, all of a sudden, you’ve got foam everywhere. Like all of this week’s videos, this video is an entry in the 2013 Gallery of Fluid Motion. (Video credit: J. Rodriguez-Rodriguez et al.)

This numerical simulation from NASA Goddard shows the motion of particulates in Earth’s atmosphere between August 2006 and April 2007. These aerosols come from various sources including smoke, soot, dust, and sea salt. As these fine particles move through atmosphere, they can have significant effects on weather as well as climate. For example, the particles serve as nucleation sites for the condensation and formation of rain drops. (Video credit: NASA Goddard SFC)

Removing gravity has interesting effects on fluids. Here an astronaut aboard the ISS demonstrates what happens when Alka-Seltzer is added to water in microgravity.