Phenomena

Popping an Oil Balloon

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Oil and water don’t mix — or at least they won’t without a lot of effort! In this video, we get to admire just how immiscible these fluids are as oil-filled balloons get burst underwater.

Visually, the two bursts are quite spectacular. In the first image, the initial balloon has a sizeable air bubble at the top, which rises even more rapidly than the buoyant oil, creating a miniature, jelly-fish-like plume that reaches the surface first. The large oil plume follows, behaving similarly to the balloon burst without an added air bubble.

The last of the oil in both cases comes from a cloud of smaller droplets formed near the bottom of the balloon. Being smaller and less buoyant, these drops take a lot longer to rise to the surface and remain much closer to spherical as they do. I suspect these smaller droplets form due to the forces created by the fast-moving elastic as it tears away. (Video and image credit: Warped Perception)

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