Phenomena

Spinning Paint

Spinning paint

Several years ago Fabian Oefner started spinning paint, and it’s been a perennial favorite online ever since. Here the Slow Mo Guys revisit their own paint-spinning antics by super-sizing their set-up. In some respects, it’s a little dissatisfying; as with their first time around, they don’t moderate the drill speed at all, so after the initial spin-up, the centrifugal acceleration is so strong that it just shreds the paint instead of showing off the interplay between the acceleration and surface tension’s efforts to keep the paint together.

In their largest experiment, though, the Slow Mo Guys get some interesting physics. Here there’s only a single slot for paint to exit, so the set-up doesn’t lose all its paint at once. The centrifugal acceleration flings the paint out in sheets that stretch into ligaments and then tear into droplets as they move further out. But there’s some more complicated phenomena, too. Notice the bubble-like shapes forming in the yellow paint on the lower right. These are known as bags, and they form because of the relative speed of the paint and the air it’s moving through. This is actually the same thing that happens to falling drops of rain! (Video and image credit: The Slow Mo Guys)

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