See Inside Dribbling Fluids Coil around Like Ropes, Producing Elegant Shapes That Physicists Still Don't Fully Understand


Spiral Bubble Waves

We discovered this galaxylike pattern by chance while doing experiments with a high-viscosity (30,000 cSt) silicone oil at a high flow rate (0.14 mL per second) and low fall heights (3 to 4 cm). The spirals always have five branches. They occur because the center of the coil is not fixed but instead moves along a circular orbit of its own, creating crossing points between successive loops of the coiling rope where air bubbles are easily trapped. The position of the trapping point migrates slowly around a circle while previously formed bubbles are carried radially outward by the fluid spreading over the plate. It is the sum of these two motions that produces the spirals.


Damien Ropero


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