Elusive vortices and patterning bubbles

One of my projects during my residency at Exeter University will be to create an artistic collection of flow visualization, inspired by Milton Van Dyke’s ‘An Album of Fluid Motion’. This week, thanks to my colleagues, I’m closer to understanding how vortices are created with flow around a cylinder – something I wanted to photograph. Depth of water, speed of flow, size of cylinder – all these play a part. I am hoping to make a 3D image which combines the flow at the bottom of the tank with the vortices forming above – still haven’t quite got there, but here are the results so far:

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ink forming patterns at the bottom

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3D patterning: swirling red ink beginning to do the vortex thing

elusive-vortices-3d-pattern.jpg

My work with ink and glycerol travelling within perspex sheets continues to reveal interesting features. I’m always keen to find new sources of tracks and trails, and air bubbles can create streaks like comet tails as they course through the ink. The bubbles may also form small islands around which the ink flows. Here are a couple of examples:

elusive-vortices-comets.jpg

Comets coming down from the top

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Diversions around bubble islands

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