Phenomena

Rifts in Rafts

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A raft of particles floating on water has some natural cohesion from particle attraction and capillary action. But when the raft is pulled apart, what happens? Does it break cleanly in one spot? Does it stretch and deform? That’s what this video explores. It turns out that the speed you pull the raft at determines how it holds together. Every particle cluster has a preferred relaxation rate, and by choosing the pulling speed, you determine which relaxation rate — and therefore cluster size — can survive most effectively. (Image and video credit: K. Tô and S. Nagel)

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