Beautiful Photos Show the Bizarre Behavior of Liquids

Liquids come in many forms, from bubbles and droplets to jets and sheets. Henri Lhuissier of Paris Diderot University and his colleagues use high-speed cameras to zoom in on the physics behind all kinds of liquid phenomena, which arise throughout nature, such as in the formation of raindrops and morning dew, and the dissemination of some fungal and bacterial spores. Knowing how small bubbles pop, for example, is important for learning how sea foam on top of breaking waves releases sea spray into the atmosphere. The tiny particles from sea spray make up a good portion of the atmosphere’s aerosols, which influence the climate and help induce rain.

Understanding liquids and their various forms and behaviors is useful in industry, too. For example, this kind of liquid physics is important for inkjet printing, the mechanisms that scatter fuel into tiny droplets inside engines, coating glass, using liquid jets to cut and clean, and developing microfluidic devices used in biology, chemistry, and medicine.

And, of course, these experiments make for some beautiful pictures.

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