Oobleck Under Impact

Fluids like air and water are Newtonian, which means that the way they deform does not depend on how the force on them gets applied. Many other fluids, however, are non-Newtonian. How they behave depends on how force is applied to them. The Internet’s favorite non-Newtonian fluid is probably oobleck, a mixture of cornstarch and water with some fairly extreme properties. When deformed quickly, like when struck with a bat, oobleck doesn’t flow; it shatters.

What’s happening at the microscopic level is that the cornstarch particles in the oobleck are jamming together. They simply cannot move quickly and avoid one another. When they jam together, the friction between them goes way up and so does the apparent viscosity of the oobleck. Because it doesn’t have time to flow, all that energy goes into breaking off “solid” chunks instead. Once they hit the ground, the pieces of oobleck will puddle, just like any other liquid. (Image and video credit: Beyond the Press; via Nerdist)

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