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 "oobleck"

A thin layer of the non-Newtonian fluid oobleck on a vibrating surface (in this case, a speaker) is a great way to show off nonlinear standing waves known as Faraday waves. The waves form because, under these circumstances, the flat surface of the air/oobleck interface has actually become unstable.

This video explores some of the non-Newtonian behaviors of oobleck when shaken. The pattern across the surface once the vibrations start is called Faraday waves, a type of nonlinear standing wave that forms once a critical vibrational frequency is passed and the flat surface of the fluid becomes unstable. Toward the end of the video, the frequency of the vibrations is increased until “finger-like protrusions” form. This is a behavior exhibited by shear-thickening non-Newtonian fluids.

Using non-Newtonian fluids as “liquid armor” is an active area of research and development. Here students demonstrate the efficacy of shear-thickening as a defense against sudden impact by dropping a bag of oobleck containing a raw egg from different heights.

Non-Newtonian fluids are a favorite for displaying odd behaviors. High-speed video simply improves the experience.

Remember, though, that non-Newtonian fluids don’t actually become solids when you hit them. They just react similarly to a solid because they exhibit a nonlinear response to deformation.

What happens when you fill a pool with a non-Newtonian fluid? Well, for one, you can hold races across the surface! In this video, the pool is filled with a mixture of cornstarch and water, a shear-thickening fluid known as oobleck.