Vortex Ring Tricks

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Vortex rings are wonderful at maintaining coherent vorticity while moving over significant distances. If you stand several meters from a foam cup and try blowing to knock it over, it’s not likely to budge. But move the air impulsively with a vortex cannon, and you can knock it over from the opposite side of the room. The same principle works underwater with added visual effect. Here an impulsive burst of air exhaled by the diver forms a bubble ring with vorticity strong enough to knock over a stack of rocks. It may look like a superpower, but this is science! Dolphins and whales are also known to play with this trick. For the non-scuba-divers among you, it’s also possible to learn to do it in a swimming pool. (Video credit: DjDeutchTv; h/t to coolsciencegifs)

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