The Physics Behind Dancing Droplets


 

A recent episode of the New York Times series ScienceTake features fascinating video of colored droplets dancing and behaving in other peculiar ways because of small “internal tornadoes.” As host James Gorman explains, the “tornadoes” are the complicated product of simple scientific principles like evaporation and surface tension.

The video is based on the work of Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University. Prakash and his team recently published a paper in Nature titled “Vapour-mediated sensing and motility in two-component droplets” about the movement of droplets of propylene glycol and water.

 

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