Rotating Water Polygons
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 @ 13:03:44 MST
Topic: Science

A team from Technical University of Denmark has generated very unusual dynamic structures in a cylinder of water. A rotating plate inside the water-filled cylinder induces a whirl that develops into stable symmetric shapes, such as pentagons or hexagons that also rotate.

This reminds cymatics and shape generation via resonant frequencies within a given medium.

The unusual phenomenon in question involves rotating a bottom plate under a liquid in a circular (cylindrical) container. Bohr and his team of students at the Technical University and at the Niels Bohr Institute set up an experiment to find out whether or not such conditions would lead to stable deformations of a water surface into polygon shapes. The findings from their experiment were published May 3rd in Physical Review Letters.

Bohr tells that a somewhat similar experiment took place eight years ago with a different team (including Clive Ellegaard and others). “We had fluid falling on a plane, like water from a faucet. We found that even if the rim of the plate is completely circular, the fluid surface can be shaped like a polygon.”

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