Dripping Down the Rivulet

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If you’ve ever watched water running down the side of the street, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t flow smoothly. Instead, you’ll see waves, rivulets, and disturbances that form. That’s because the simple action of flowing down an incline is unstable. Water and other viscous liquids can’t flow downhill smoothly. Any disturbances – an uneven surface, the rumble of passing cars, a pebble in the way – will create a disruption that grows, often until the entire flow is affected. This video shows some of the complex and beautiful patterns you get then. (Video and image credit: G. Lerisson et al.)

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