Phenomena

Why Ketchup is Hard to Pour

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Oobleck gets a lot of attention for its non-intuitive viscous behaviors, but there are actually many non-Newtonian fluids we experience on a daily basis. Ketchup is an excellent example. Unlike oobleck, ketchup is a shear-thinning fluid, meaning that its viscosity decreases once it’s deformed. This is why it pours everywhere when you finally get it moving. Check out this great TED-Ed video for why exactly that’s the case. In the end, like many non-Newtonian fluids, the oddness of ketchup’s behavior comes down to the fact that it is a colloidal fluid, meaning that it consists of microscopic bits of a substance dispersed throughout another substance. This is also how blood, egg whites, and other non-Newtonian fluids get their properties. (Video credit: G. Zaidan/TED-Ed; via io9)

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