The Fishbone

The simple collision of two liquid jets can form striking and beautiful patterns. Here the two jets strike one another diagonally near the top of the animation. One is slanted into the screen; the other slants outward. At their point of contact, the liquid spreads into a sheet and forms what’s known as a fishbone pattern. The water forms a thicker rim at the edge of the sheet, and this rim destabilizes when surface tension can no longer balance the momentum of the fluid. Fingers of liquid form along the edge, stretching outward until they break apart into droplets. Ultimately, this instability tears the liquid sheet apart. Under the right conditions, all kinds of beautiful shapes form in a system like this. (Image credit: V. Sanjay et al., source)

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