Gallery of Fluid Motion: Science at its most visually stunning
In fluid dynamics, hard science often comes with dazzling aesthetic beauty – a fact the American Physical Society highlights annually with a photo/video contest. Here are this year's winners – equal parts fascinating, hypnotic and visually stunning.
It's perhaps an oddly narrow image contest, but then once you start watching these pieces, you'll realize they really do belong in a category of their own. The video entries feature beautifully shot footage of fluid dynamics experiments, set to classical music, annotated and interspersed with slides so you can appreciate the visuals alongside insights into the phenomena that are being studied.
They're highly addictive and frequently very relaxing as well as informative, so we recommend a hot cup of your own favorite dynamic fluid as you jump into a selection of our favorite winners below.
In Dynamics of Frost Propagation, we see how hemispheric bubbles of condensation transform into sharp frosty peaks as the surface they're attached to is supercooled, and watch how tiny frost bridges propagate that frost in ringed patterns.
In Liquid Lace, we're treated to a visual feast as we watch thermal footage of a 3D printer over-extruding hot polymer into a series of coils, cooling as they land. Then, we see how carefully under-extruding polymer can create a useful lightweight "lace" pattern with a programmable degree of stretch.
Visualization and Feature Tracking of the Atomization of Impinging Jets gives us a peek into rocket propulsion, focusing in slow-mo on an atomization technique in which two nozzles spray jets of fuel against each other. As they meet, the jets are flung apart into sheets, and the sheets tear off into droplets, ready for optimal combustion.
Now we move to aquatic robots. In To swim fast or go far? Answers from 1-guilla, the robotic eel, a team of researchers build an 85-cm-long (33-in) robotic eel, with eight motors driving a flexible tail. They then make it swim in a variety of different ways, studying the factors that influence speed and energy efficiency in a way that'll make you want to re-think your motions next time you're at the pool.
Like the videos, the photos in this contest are also annotated, effectively turning them into university-grade versions of the science posters you used to make back in school. Again, here are a few of the winning entries – but since they're posters, we'll let them explain themselves!
You can find more videos and images at the Gallery of Fluid Motion contest website. Great stuff!
Source: Gallery of Fluid Motion / APS