Viscous Fluid Falling on a Moving Belt

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In this video a very viscous (but still Newtonian) fluid is falling in a stream onto a moving belt. Initially, the belt is moving quickly enough that the viscous stream creates a straight thread. As the belt is slowed, the stream begins to meander sinusoidally and ultimately begins to coil. Aside from some transient behavior when the speed of the belt is changed very quickly, the behavior of the thread is very consistent within a particular speed regime. This is indicative of a nonlinear dynamical system; each shift in behavior due to the changing speed of the belt is called a bifurcation and can be identified mathematically from the governing equation(s) of the system. (Video credit: S. Morris et al)

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