Phenomena

Daily Fluids, Part 1

Just getting cleaned up and ready for the day involves a lot of fluid physics. Here are a few of the phenomena you may see daily without realizing:

Plateau-Rayleigh Instability
This behavior is responsible for the dripping of your faucet. More specifically, it’s the reason that a falling jet breaks up into droplets. It works on rain, too!

Forced Convection
Everyone is familiar with a winter wind making them colder or hot air from a dryer getting the moisture off their hands. These are examples of forced convection – heat transfer by driving a fluid past a solid. Another common example? The fans in your computer!

Liquid Atomization
This is the process of breaking a liquid into lots of tiny droplets. Aside from any aerosol can ever, this phenomenon is also key to your daily shower and internal combustion in your car.

Archimedes Principle
This might be one of my favorite bits of the whole video because it hearkens back to some of my own earliest fluid dynamics exposure. Archimedes Principle says that buoyancy is equal to the weight of the fluid a body displaces. My mom (a science teacher) taught me about this one in the bathtub! It’s key to everything that ever floated, including us!

Tune in all week for more examples of fluid dynamics in daily life. (Image credit: S. Reckinger et al., source)

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