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.

Recent Tweets @
Posts tagged "viscous flow"

Hydrophobic surfaces are great for creating some wild behaviors with water droplets, but they make neat effects with other liquids, too. The viscous honey in the first segment of this Chemical Bouillon video is a great example. Because the honey doesn’t adhere to the hydrophobic surface, the viscoelastic fluid does not maintain the form it had when drizzled on the surface. Instead, the honey contracts, with surface tension driving Plateau-Rayleigh-like instabilities that break the contracting ligaments apart to form nearly spherical droplets of honey on the surface.  (Video credit: Chemical Bouillon

Today’s post continues my retrospective on mind-boggling fluid dynamics in honor of FYFD’s birthday. This video on the Kaye effect was one of the earliest submissions I ever received—if you’re reading this, thanks, Belisle!—and it completely amazed me. Judging from the frequency with which it appears in my inbox, it’s delighted a lot of you guys as well. The Kaye effect is observed in shear-thinning, non-Newtonian fluids, like shampoo or dish soap, where viscosity decreases as the fluid is deformed. Like many viscous liquids, a falling stream of these fluids creates a heap. But, when a dimple forms on the heap, a drop in the local viscosity can cause the incoming fluid jet to slip off the heap and rebound upward. As demonstrated in the video, it’s even possible to create a stable Kaye effect cascade down an incline. (Video credit: D. Lohse et al.)

Oobleck gets a lot of attention for its non-intuitive viscous behaviors, but there are actually many non-Newtonian fluids we experience on a daily basis. Ketchup is an excellent example. Unlike oobleck, ketchup is a shear-thinning fluid, meaning that its viscosity decreases once it’s deformed. This is why it pours everywhere when you finally get it moving. Check out this great TED-Ed video for why exactly that’s the case. In the end, like many non-Newtonian fluids, the oddness of ketchup’s behavior comes down to the fact that it is a colloidal fluid, meaning that it consists of microscopic bits of a substance dispersed throughout another substance. This is also how blood, egg whites, and other non-Newtonian fluids get their properties. (Video credit: G. Zaidan/TED-Ed; via io9)

Viscous liquid placed between two plates forms a finger-like instability when the top plate is lifted. The photos above show the evolution of the instability for four initial cases (top row, each column) in which the initial gap between the plates differs. Each row shows a subsequent time during the lifting process. As the plate is pulled up, the viscous liquid adheres to it and air from the surroundings is entrained inward to replace the fluid. This forms patterns similar to the classic Saffman-Taylor instability caused when less viscous fluid is injected into a more viscous one.   (Photo credit: J. Nase et al.)

When two jets of a viscous liquid collide, they can form a chain-like stream or even a fishbone pattern, depending on the flow rate. This video demonstrates the menagerie of shapes that form not only with changing flow rates but by changing how the jets collide - from a glancing impingement to direct collision. When just touching, the viscous jets generate long threads of fluid that tear off and form tiny satellite droplets. At low flow rates, continuing to bring the jets closer causes them to twist around one another, releasing a series of pinched-off droplets. At higher flow rates, bringing the jets closer to each other creates a thin webbing of fluid between the jets that ultimately becomes a full fishbone pattern when the jets fully collide. The surface-tension-driven Plateau-Rayleigh instability helps drive the pinch-off and break-up into droplets. (Video credit: B. Keshavarz and G. McKinley)

Surface tension usually constrains bubbles to the smallest area for a given volume - a sphere - but sometimes other forces generate more complicated geometries. The images above show bubbles flowing through microfluidic channels filled with a highly viscous carrier fluid. The bubble size and packing affects the shapes they assume, but so does the geometry of the channel. The narrow constrictions accelerate the flow, elongating the bubbles, whereas the wider channel regions slow the carrier fluid and squish the bubbles together. (Image credit: M. Sauzade and T. Cubaud (Stony Brook University))

The dimensionless Reynolds number is a key concept in fluid dynamics, allowing scientists to distinguish regimes of flow between differing geometries and even different fluids. This video gives a great primer on the subject by examining the physics of swimming for a sperm versus a sperm whale. The Reynolds number is essentially a ratio between inertial forces (driven by velocity and size) and viscous forces, and its value can indicate how important different effects are. Sperm and other microbes live at very small Reynolds numbers, meaning that viscosity dominates as the force they must overcome to move. For more on the low Reynolds number world, check out how brine shrimp swim and what happens if a microbe tries to flap its tail. (Hint: it goes nowhere, and this is why.) (Video credit: A. Bhatia/TED Ed; via Jennifer Ouellette)

A thin spout of water is drawn up through a layer of oil in the photo on the right. This simple version of the selective withdrawal experiment is illustrated in Figure A, in which a layer of viscous oil floats above a layer of water. A tube introduced in the oil sucks fluid upward. At low flow rates, only the oil will be drawn into the tube, but as the flow rate increases (or the tube’s height above the water decreases), a tiny thread of water will be pulled upward as well. The viscous outer fluid helps suppress instabilities that might break up the inner fluid, and their relative viscosities determine the thickness of the initial spout. In this example, the oil is 195 times more viscous than the water. (Photo credit: I. Cohen et al.)

In water and other Newtonian fluids, a rising bubble is typically spherical, but for non-Newtonian fluids things are a different story. In non-Newtonian fluids the viscosity—the fluid’s resistance to deformation—is dependent on the shear rate and history—how and how much deformation is being applied. For rising bubbles, this can mean a teardrop shape or even a long tail that breaks up into fishbone-like ligaments. The patterns shown here vary with the bubble’s volume, which affects the velocity at which it rises (due to buoyancy) and thus the shear force the bubble and surrounding non-Newtonian fluid experience. (Video credit: E. Soto, R. Zenit, and O. Manero)

Originally posted: 3 Jan 2012 Nonlinearity and chaos are important topics for many aspects of fluid dynamics but can be difficult to wrap one’s head around. But this video provides an awesome, direct example of one of the key concepts of nonlinear systems—namely, bifurcation. What you see is a thread of very viscous fluid, like honey, falling on a moving belt. Initially, the belt is moving quickly and the thread falls in a straight line. When the belt slows down, the thread begins to meander sinusoidally. With additional changes in the belt’s speed, the thread begins to coil. A multitude of other patterns are possible, too, just by varying the height of the thread and the speed of the belt. Each of these shifts in behavior is a bifurcation. Understanding how and why systems display these behaviors helps unravel the mysteries of chaos. (Video credit: S. Morris et al.)

Reminder: There’s still time left to take the reader survey! Please take a couple minutes to help improve FYFD and science outreach. Thank you!