Phenomena

Liquid Umbrellas

Two well-timed droplets can create umbrella-like fluid sculptures.

Two well-timed and properly aligned droplets combine to create these umbrella-like fluid sculptures. The initial drop creates a jet that shoots upward. When the second drop hits that jet, it forms an expanding sheet of liquid like a miniature parasol. The higher the viscosity of the drops, the less lacy and unstable the sheet’s rim will be.

Although set-ups for these sorts of pictures can be finicky, they’re very doable, even for amateur photographers. In fact, the techniques used here have been around for about a century! (Image and research credit: A. Kiyama et al.)

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