Dendritic Designs

Imagine a thin layer of viscous liquid sandwiched between two horizontal glass plates. Then pull those plates apart at a constant velocity. What you see in the image above is the shape the viscous fluid takes for different speeds, with velocity increasing from left to right and from top to bottom. For lower velocities, the fluid forms tree-like fingers as air comes in from the edges. At higher velocities, though, there’s a transition from the finger-like pattern to a cell-like one. The cells are actually caused by cavitation within the fluid. When the plates are pulled apart fast enough, the local low pressure in the fluid causes cavitation bubbles to form just before the force required to remove the plate reaches its peak. (Photo credit: S. Poivet et al.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: