Bubbles With Tails

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In water and other Newtonian fluids, a rising bubble is typically spherical, but for non-Newtonian fluids things are a different story. In non-Newtonian fluids the viscosity–the fluid’s resistance to deformation–is dependent on the shear rate and history–how and how much deformation is being applied. For rising bubbles, this can mean a teardrop shape or even a long tail that breaks up into fishbone-like ligaments. The patterns shown here vary with the bubble’s volume, which affects the velocity at which it rises (due to buoyancy) and thus the shear force the bubble and surrounding non-Newtonian fluid experience. (Video credit: E. Soto, R. Zenit, and O. Manero)

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