Acrylic Paint Fractals

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Here’s a simple fluids experiment you can try at home using acrylic paints, ink, isopropyl alcohol and a few other ingredients. When dropped onto diluted acrylic paint, a mixture of black ink and alcohol spreads in a fractal fingering pattern. The radial (outward) flow is driven by the alcohol’s evaporation, which increases the local surface tension and draws fluid outward. The shape and density of the fingers depends, at least in part, on the viscosity of the underlying paint layer; more viscous paint layers grow smaller and denser fractal patterns. (Image and video credit: S. Chan et al.)

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