Research

Swimming in Corn Syrup

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Highly viscous laminar flows exhibit kinematic reversibility, meaning: if you move the fluid one direction and then execute the same motion in the opposite direction, every fluid particle will return to its initial, undisturbed position. Above, you see a swimming device attempting to move through corn syrup by flapping. Because of this kinematic reversibility, it cannot propel itself. For the same reason, many microscopic organisms do not utilize flapping to move.

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