Soap Film Butterfly

Originally posted: 14 Jan 2011 This gorgeous butterfly-like double spiral roll takes place on a horizontal soap film. The foil (seen top center) inserted in the film flaps back and forth. Each time the foil changes direction a vortex forms at the tip and gets advected away. The vortices stretch and distort in the roll, but if you look at the photograph closely, you’ll see the tiny shed vortices persisting throughout the roll structure. The bright colors that make this flow visible are due to interference patterns related to the local thickness of the film. (Photo credit: T. Schnipper et al.)

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