Newtonian and Non-Newtonian Vortices

Not all vortex rings are created equal. Despite identical generation mechanisms and Reynolds numbers, the two vortex rings shown above behave very differently. The donut-shaped one, on the top left in green and in the middle row in blue, was formed in a Newtonian fluid, where viscous stress is linearly proportional to deformation. As one would expect, the vortex travels downward and diffuses some as time passes. The mushroom-like vortex ring, on the other hand, is in a viscoelastic fluid, which reacts nonlinearly to deformation. This vortex ring first furls and expands as it travels downward, then stops, contracts, and travels backward! (Image credit: J. Albagnac et al.; via Gallery of Fluid Motion)

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