Research

Pendulum Soap Flow Viz

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Soap films are a handy way to create nearly two-dimensional flow fields. Previously we’ve seen them used to show wake structures of pitching foils, flapping flags, and multiple bodies. In this video, we see the dynamics of a pendulum in a soap film. Initially its length is quite long, and the ring end of the pendulum bobs side-to-side in a figure-8 motion. There are two rotational effects here: one is the standard oscillation of a pendulum about its pivot, the other is the rotation of the pendulum’s ring about its attachment point. Interestingly, they have the same frequency. The major destabilizing force for the pendulum is the periodic shedding of vortices we see off the ring. By shortening the pendulum length, the pendulum’s behavior shifts; first it loses the stationary node in its string. Eventually, the string becomes so short that the pendulum no longer oscillates. (Video credit: M. Bandi et al.)

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