Tightrope Walkair

A bubble rising through water can get caught on an aerophilic (air-attracting) fiber. The bubble will then adhere to the fiber and be guided to the surface by it. In the poster above, the image is a composite photo of such a bubble every 40 milliseconds. Once captured by the fiber, the bubble first accelerates and then reaches a terminal velocity, indicated by the equal spacing of the bubble photos toward the right end of the picture. The terminal velocity strikes a balance between buoyancy, which pulls the bubble upward, and skin friction between the bubble and the water, which acts like drag on the bubble. At the terminal velocity, these forces are equal; neither is able to speed up or slow down the bubble. (Image credit: H. de Maleprade et al.)

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