The Kaye Effect

When a viscous fluid falls onto a surface, it will form a heap, like honey coiling. But for shear-thinning liquids like soap or shampoo something a little wild can happen as the heap grows. A dimple can form and, when the incoming jet of fluid hits that dimple, it slips against it and is ejected outward. If you wonder why you don’t see this every day in the shower, it’s because the outgoing jet usually hits the incoming jet, causing the whole system to collapse in less than 300 ms. By dropping the fluid on an inclined surface, one can keep the two jets from colliding, thereby creating a stable Kaye effect. (Photo credit: E. Eichelberger)

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