The Fluid Dynamical Sewing Machine

Anyone who has poured a viscous fluid like honey or syrup will have noticed its tendency to coil like rope. A similar effect is observed when a viscous fluid stream falls onto a moving belt. The photos above show some of the patterns seen in these “fluid-mechanical sewing machines” depending on the height of the thread and the speed of the moving belt. Notice how some of the patterns are doubles of another (i.e. two coils per side instead of one). This period doubling behavior is often seen in systems on their way to chaos.  (Photo credits: S. Chiu-Webster and J. Lister)

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