Swirling Fluids

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In this video, researchers investigate swirling fluids by studying the shapes of the free surface between air and the liquid. As parameters like the diameter of the glass, initial (unperturbed) height of the liquid, and angular velocity of the rotation change, the surface of the liquid displays different modal behaviors, seen in the photos on the lower left of the video. By non-dimensionalizing the physical parameters of the system (students: think Buckingham pi theorem), they are able to replicate the shape of the free surface by matching a Froude number and dimensionless depth and offset. Such similitude between fluids under different conditions is key to understanding the underlying physics. (Video credit: M. Reclari et al; submitted by co-author M. Farhat)

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