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 "vibration"

Much as I try to keep from getting repetitious, this was just too neat to pass up. This new music video for The Glitch Mob’s “Becoming Harmonious” is built around the standing Faraday waves that form on a water-filled subwoofer. The vibration patterns, along with judicious use of strobe lighting, produce some fantastic and kaleidoscopic effects. (Video credit: The Glitch Mob/Susi Sie; submitted by @krekr)

The recently released music video for Jack White’s “High Ball Stepper” is a fantastic marriage of science and art. The audio is paired with visuals based around vibration effects using both granular materials and fluids. There are many examples of Faraday waves, the rippling patterns formed when a fluid interface becomes unstable under vibration. There are also cymatic patterns and even finger-like protrusions formed by when shear-thickening non-Newtonian fluids get agitated. (Video credit: J. White, B. Swank and J. Cathcart; submitted by Mike and Marius)

Soil liquefaction is a rather unsettling process in which apparently solid ground begins moving in a fluid-like way after agitation. It occurs in loose sediments when the spaces between individual particles become nearly saturated with water. This can happen, for example, after heavy rains or in a place with inadequate drainage. Such cases are typically very localized, though, and require some significant agitation of the surface, like pressing with heavy machinery or jumping in a single spot. Soil liquefaction becomes a greater danger, however, in an earthquake. Even in a dry area, the earth’s shaking can force groundwater up into the surface sediment and vibrate the soil sufficiently to liquify it, causing whole buildings to sink or tip and wreaking havoc on manmade infrastructure. (Video credit: jokulhlaups)

Over the past few years, researchers have been exploring the dynamics of droplets bouncing on a vibrating fluid. These systems display many behaviors associated with quantum mechanics, including wave-particle duality, single-slit and double-slit diffraction, and tunneling. A new paper examines the system mathematically, showing that the droplets obey many of the same mathematics as quantum systems. In fact, the droplet-wave system behaves as a macroscopic analog of 2D quantum behaviors. The implications are intriguing, especially for teaching. Now students of quantum mechanics can experiment with a simple apparatus to understand some of the non-intuitive aspects of quantum behavior. For more, see the paper on arxiv. (Image credit: D. Harris and J. Bush; research credit: R. Brady and R. Anderson)

Paint is probably the Internet’s second favorite non-Newtonian fluid to vibrate on a speaker—after oobleck, of course. And the Slow Mo Guys' take on it does not disappoint: it's bursting (literally?) with great fluid dynamics. It all starts at 1:53 when the less dense green paint starts dimpling due to the Faraday instability. Notice how the dimples and jets of fluid are all roughly equally spaced. When the vibration surpasses the green paint’s critical amplitude, jets sprout all over, ejecting droplets as they bounce. At 3:15, watch as a tiny yellow jet collapses into a cavity before the cavity’s collapse and the vibration combine to propel a jet much further outward. The macro shots are brilliant as well; watch for ligaments of paint breaking into droplets due to the surface-tension-driven Plateau-Rayleigh instability. (Video credit: The Slow Mo Guys)

Opposing ultrasonic speakers can be used to trap and levitate droplets against gravity using acoustic pressure. Changes to field strength can do things like bring separate objects together or flatten droplets. The squished shape of the droplet is the result of a balance between acoustic pressure trying to flatten the drop and surface tension, which tries to pull the drop into a sphere. If the acoustic field strength changes with a frequency that is a harmonic of the drop’s resonant frequency, the drop will oscillate in a star-like shape dependent on the harmonic. The video above demonstrates this for many harmonic frequencies. It also shows how alterations to the drop’s surface tension (by adding water at 2:19) can trigger the instability. Finally, if the field strength is increased even further, the drop’s behavior becomes chaotic as the acoustic pressure overwhelms surface tension’s ability to hold the drop together. Like all of this week’s videos, this video is a submission to the 2103 Gallery of Fluid Motion. (Video credit: W. Ran and S. Fredericks)


This is the last week that my IndieGoGo project is open for donations. All money above and beyond what is needed for the conference will go toward FYFD-produced videos. Also, donors can get some awesome FYFD stickers.

As a reminder, those looking for more fluids—in video, textbook, or other form—can always check out my resources page. And if you know about great links that aren’t on there, let me know so that I can add them. On to the round-up!

I had a lot of fun earlier this week giving a talk for the Texas A&M Applied Mathematics Undergraduate Seminar series. I didn’t get a chance to record it, but the slides are up here if anyone is interested. 
(Photo credit: M. Klimas)

In Matt Kenyon's “Supermajor,” oil appears to flow upward against gravity from a puddle into a can. This optical illusion is a stroboscopic effect similar to the one that makes car wheels seem to rotate backwards. The human eye and brain can be tricked into seeing the stream of oil as being suspended or even moving backwards by changing the flicker of the lighting relative to the rate at which the drops fall. If you watch the videos carefully, the pedestal is vibrating, which imparts a specific frequency to the falling drops. Combine this with a light that flickers at a slightly different frequency than that of the vibration and you can make the stream of drops appear to move up or down. It’s a helpful way to trick the brain into freezing fluid motion we would normally be unable to appreciate without high-speed cameras. (Video credit: Science Gallery; exhibit credit: Matt Kenyon; submitted by jshoer)

When slowed down, everyday occurrences, like a drop of water falling into a pool, can look absolutely extraordinary. When a falling drop has low momentum, it doesn’t simply disappear into the puddle. It sits on the surface, separated from the main pool by a very thin layer of air. Given time, the air drains away and the droplet cascades its way into the pool via smaller and smaller droplets. By vibrating the surface, the droplet bounces, with each bounce refreshing the layer of air that separates it from the main pool. Minute Lab’s video does a great job of explaining the process from beginning to end, accompanied with wonderful video of each step in action. For even more mind-boggling, check out how these bouncing droplets can demonstrate quantum mechanical behaviors.  (Video credit: Minute Laboratory; submitted by Pascal)


First off, I’d like to give a special shout-out to FYFD’s friends at Pointwise, who were kind enough to invite me for a visit this week. For any readers looking for CFD grid-generation software, check them out; they are a fantastic bunch and very good at what they do.

My thanks again to everyone who donated this week to help get me to the APS conference. The campaign is still open if anyone wants to get in on the FYFD wallpapers and stickers on offer to donors. As a reminder, any funds beyond conference costs will go toward improving FYFD, including getting equipment to make FYFD videos. On to the fluids round-up!

(Photo credit: L. Gilman)