The Bathtub Vortex

If you’ve ever watched a swirling vortex disappear down the drain of your bathtub and wondered what was happening, you’ll appreciate these images. This dye visualization shows a one-celled bathtub vortex, created by rotating a cylindrical tank of water until all points have equal vorticity before opening a drain in the bottom of the tank. A recirculating pump feeds water back in to keep the total fluid mass constant. Once a steady vortex is established, green dye is released from the top plate of the tank and yellow dye from the bottom. The green dye quickly marks the core of the vortex. Ekman layers–similar to the boundary layers of non-rotating flows–form along the top and bottom surfaces, and the yellow dye is drawn upward in a region of upwelling driven by Ekman pumping. (Photo credit: Y. Chen et al.)

Just a reminder for those at Texas A&M University: I will be giving a talk today Wednesday, October 2nd entitled “The Beauty of the Flow” as part of the Applied Mathematics Undergraduate Seminar series at 17:45 in BLOC 164.

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