Phenomena

Soap Film Turbulence

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The brilliant colors of a soap film reveal the fluid’s thickness, thanks to a process known as thin film interference. The twisting flow of the film depends on many influences: gravity pulls down on the liquid and tends to make it drain away; evaporation steals fluid from the film; local air currents can push or pull the film; and the variation in the concentration of molecules – specifically the surfactants that stabilize the film – will change the local surface tension, causing flow via the Marangoni effect. Together these and other effects create the dancing turbulence captured above. (Video credit: A. Filipowicz)

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