Convective Impressionism

Buoyant convection, driven by temperature-dependent changes in density, is a major force here on Earth. It’s responsible for mixing in the oceans, governs the shape of flames, and drives weather patterns. The images above show flow patterns caused by buoyant convection. The colors come from liquid crystal beads immersed in the fluid; red indicates cooler fluid and blue indicates warmer fluid. You can see plumes of warmer fluid rising in some of the photos. At the same time, though, the images are beautiful simply as art and are strongly reminiscent of works by Vincent van Gogh. (Image credit: J. Zhang et al.)

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