Marangoni Bursting

Close-up of Marangoni bursting by David Naylor.

Placing a mixture of alcohol and water atop a pool of oil creates a stunning effect that pulls droplets apart. The action is driven by the Marangoni effect, where variations in surface tension (caused in this case by the relative evaporation rates of alcohol and water) create flow. David Naylor captures some great stills of the flow, including the only example of a double burst I’ve seen so far. For more on the science behind the effect, check out this previous post or the original research paper. (Image credit: D. Naylor; see also this previous post)

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