Phenomena

Spin-Up

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With the Oscars just over, it seems like a good time for some movie-trailer-style fluid dynamics. This video shows a rotating water tank from the perspective of a camera rotating with the tank at 10 rpm. Initially, the tank and its contents are at rest. When the tank begins spinning, the fluid inside responds. Pink potassium permanganate crystals at the bottom of the tank show fluid motion as they dissolve, and food coloring is spread on the water’s surface to show motion there. Fluid near the edge of the tank reaches the tank’s rotational velocity fastest, due to friction with the wall, while fluid near the center of the tank takes longer to spin up to speed. This creates the spiral-galaxy-like shape in the dye. Eventually viscosity will transmit the effects of the wall’s motion even into the center of the tank. (Video credit: UCLA Spinlab)

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