4th Birthday: Mantis Shrimp

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Undoubtedly one of the most mind-boggling instances of fluid dynamics I’ve learned about in writing FYFD is that of sonoluminescence – an effect in which light is produced from imploding cavitation bubbles. In a laboratory, the effect is usually initiated with acoustic waves. A bubble can be forced to oscillate and collapse periodically when forced by the sound. During the collapse, the vapor inside the bubble reaches temperatures of the order of thousands of Kelvin, and light is produced. What is far more wild, though, is that the effect occurs in nature as well. Both the pistol shrimp and the mantis shrimp produce the effect. As shown in the video above, the mantis shrimp swings its club-like arm with such speed that the local pressure drops below the vapor pressure, causing a cavitation bubble to form and sonoluminescence to occur. Some real Mortal Kombat finishing move s&#% there, indeed.  (Video credit: Z. Frank)

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