Fluid Fingers

Fluid phenomena can show up in unexpected places. The collage above shows patterns formed when an aluminum block is lifted during wet sanding, a polishing technique. The dendritic fingers are formed from oil and the slurry of sanded particles being polished away. They are an example of the Saffman-Taylor instability, which forms when less viscous fluids (oil) protrude into a more viscous one (the slurry). Each image contains a different concentration of oil, resulting in very different fingering patterns. (Image credit: D. Lopez)

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