Viscous Fingers

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When less viscous fluids are injected into a more viscous medium, the low-viscosity fluid forms finger-like protrusions into the background fluid.  This is known as the Saffman-Taylor instability. The video above shows this effect but in a more dynamic setting. Blue-dyed water and a clear solution of water and glycerol fifty times more viscous than the water are injected in alternating fashion to a microfluidic channel. The blue water spreads into the clear glycerol solution via fingers that quickly diffuse, creating a homogeneous–or uniform–mixture. (Video credit: Juanes Research Group)

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