Phenomena

Mussels

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In this video, schlieren imaging is used to make visible the flow field around a mussel.  Mussels are filter-feeders, drawing nearby water in to obtain their food and expelling the unneeded fluid once they’ve gathered the plankton they eat. Normally this process is invisible to the naked eye, but schlieren imaging reveals changes in density (and thus refractive index) that make it possible to visualize the outflow from the mussel. The technique is also commonly used in supersonic flows to reveal shock waves. (Video credit: Stephen Allen)

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