Research

Pollock-Style Physics

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Here on FYFD, we like to show off the artistic side of fluid dynamics. But some researchers are actively studying how artists use fluid dynamics in their art. In this video, they examine one of Jackson Pollock’s painting techniques, in which filaments of paint were applied by flinging paint off a paintbrush. Getting the technique to work requires a fine balance of forces and effects. Firstly, the paint must be viscous enough to hold together in a filament when flung. Secondly, the centripetal acceleration of the rotation must be high to both form the catenary filament and throw it off the brush. And, finally, the Reynolds number needs to be high enough to add some waviness and instability to the filament so that it looks interesting once it hits the canvas. Also be sure to check out the group’s previous work exploring Siqueiros’s painting techniques. (Video credit: B. Palacios et al.)

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