Phenomena

The Kaye Effect

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Allow a stream of shampoo to fall into a pile and you’ll catch a glimpse of the bizarre Kaye effect. A jet of shampoo will briefly rise up before becoming chaotic and falling. The key to this behavior is the shear-thinning of the shampoo. When the shampoo is just sitting on a surface, it’s quite viscous, but slide your hand across it, and the shampoo will become much less resistant to flowing.

When the jet of falling shampoo hits the pile, it creates a little dimple. Sometimes the incoming jet hits that dimple and slips along it, thanks to a sudden decrease in viscosity. That can send an outgoing jet of shampoo riding off the dimple like a ramp. As the dimple deepens, the outgoing streamer rises up until it hits the incoming jet and becomes unstable. The shampoo streamer collapses, only to be restarted when a new dimple forms. (Image and video credit: S. Mould; h/t to Guillaume D.)

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