Sunset Flow

Day and night mix in this flow visualization of watercolor pigments and ferrofluid. The former, as suggested by their name, are water-based, whereas ferrofluids typically contain an oil base. This means the two fluids are immiscible. Like oil and vinegar in salad dressing, the only way to mix them is to break one into tiny droplets floating in the other. This is what happens near their boundary, where brightly-colored paint droplets float in a network of dark channels. To the right, the paint and ferrofluid have been swirled around to create viscous mixing patterns among the paint colors with occasional intrusions of thin ferrofluid fingers. (Image credit: G. Elbert)

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