Research

Viscous Fingers

Viscous liquid placed between two plates forms a finger-like instability when the top plate is lifted. The photos above show the evolution of the instability for four initial cases (top row, each column) in which the initial gap between the plates differs. Each row shows a subsequent time during the lifting process. As the plate is pulled up, the viscous liquid adheres to it and air from the surroundings is entrained inward to replace the fluid. This forms patterns similar to the classic Saffman-Taylor instability caused when less viscous fluid is injected into a more viscous one.   (Photo credit: J. Nase et al.)

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