Fluid dynamics is a fascinating field that focuses on the study of how liquids and gases behave when they are in motion. Each year, the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics holds a contest to showcase the most captivating images in various categories related to fluid flow. In this article, we will explore some of the winners from their latest exhibition, gaining insight into the intricacies and beauty of this scientific field.

3D polymer printers require meticulous calibration to ensure the smooth deposition of material onto a substrate. However, when too much polymer is released at a slow pace, it can result in the formation of unwieldy kinks and coils within the thread’s layout. Princeton University’s team managed to capture this phenomenon on camera, presenting an image of an orderly and stable “lace” structure formed by printing too little material too slowly. The density of the final printed structure can be controlled by adjusting the layer’s height and the printing rate, leading to fascinating patterns reminiscent of delicate lacework.

By inducing vibrations in a tiny liquid drop under zero gravity conditions, researchers observed a mesmerizing pattern of “jets” and “craters.” This peculiar appearance bears a resemblance to the husk on the seed of a chestnut tree, earning the name “Drop Medusa.” High-amplitude radial vibrations at a frequency of 1040 Hertz generate chaotic and nonlinear waves that result in the burst-like breakup of the droplet. This study serves as an example of hydroelasticity, exploring the interplay between hydrodynamics and elasticity. Furthermore, researchers also investigated objects dropped onto a liquid water surface, discovering the formation of undulations along the walls of an air cavity created by the impact. These findings could have implications for biological divers or the development of naval and aerospace structures.

When moisture comes into contact with a cold surface, it forms water droplets known as “breath figures.” These droplets then coalesce, with smaller droplets filling the empty spaces between them. In a fascinating video captured using an infrared camera, a sudden cooling of the underlying surface triggers the freezing of the droplets, releasing latent heat. The freezing process starts from the surface and propagates upward, creating ice bridges between individual droplets and culminating in a captivating point atop the frozen droplets. This visual representation of frost propagation showcases the intricate movements and features associated with this natural phenomenon.

The “Traveling Gallery of Fluid Motion” exhibition, hosted by the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics, offers a further glimpse into the enchanting world of fluid dynamics. From October 2, 2023, to February 23, 2024, visitors can immerse themselves in the exhibition titled “Chaosmosis: Assigning Rhythm to the Turbulent” at the Cultural Program of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) in Washington, D.C. This exhibition serves as a celebration of the intricate and captivating nature of fluid dynamics, showcasing the profound beauty hidden within the ebb and flow of liquids and gases.

Fluid dynamics, as exemplified by the winners of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics contest, showcases the inherent beauty and complexity found in the world of flowing fluids. From the delicate patterns formed during 3D polymer printing to the mesmerizing vibrations of liquid drops under zero gravity, these images highlight the diverse phenomena that occur within fluid systems. By exploring these captivating visuals, we gain a deeper appreciation for the scientific field of fluid dynamics and its broader implications in various industries, from manufacturing to aerospace. Let us marvel at the wonders of fluid dynamics and strive to uncover the secrets hidden within the ever-flowing world around us.

Physics

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