Research

Paint Spilling Physics

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There is a remarkable amount of physics contained in art. In this video, scientists from The Splash Lab explore some of the physics involved in pouring paint atop a rectangular post. The spreading paint transforms its shape repeatedly, and, at the corners of the post, it preserves a tiny history of all the colors poured. Paint sliding down the sides shifts from a thin sheet to a thicker jet that deposits color in waves. For tall posts, the distance the paint falls is long enough for instabilities to set in, producing a paint puddle that’s riddled with curves and waves between each color of paint. It’s a lovely reminder of the complexity inherent even within a simple action. (Video credit: R. Hurd et al.)

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