Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bouncing Liquid

Hey, this is a rather cool experiment on "bouncing oil" (link open for a limited time only). I'm not sure what kind of information they got out of this, or if there's any application to it. However, here's the interesting part:

The bounce here is due to a thin layer of air that separates the two liquid surfaces, the researchers say in an article submitted to Physical Review E.

They point out that the effect can easily be recreated in a kitchen experiment with cooking oil. Just fill a glass pie dish with about 4 centimetres of oil and pour onto it a thin stream from a cup about 3 to 6 centimetres above the surface. While pouring, move the stream in a circle about once every 2 seconds (or perhaps less messily rotate the dish on a Lazy Susan). The bounce can be encouraged by passing a chopstick or some other small rod through the stream every now and then.

Now when was the last time a paper bound for any of the Phys. Rev. journals contains an experiment that you can actually do in your kitchen?! :)


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