Monday, 30 April 2012

The Blob in real life

I have been a terrible, terrible person and have not been updating my blog. I have been busy! I will try to fit more in...

Anyway, us physicists like to have fun occasionally, and one of our number decided it would be fun to make a non-Newtonian fluid at lunch last week.

What is a non-Newtonian fluid, anyway? Firstly, what is a Newtonian fluid? Newtonian fluids are kind of your every day fluids, such as water. No matter how fast you stir it or what forces you apply to it, the viscosity stays the same. Water doesn't suddenly feel like molasses if you try to mix it quickly, for example. Non-Newtonian fluids do not behave like this. They vary in viscosity depending on what forces are applied, and can have even weirder behaviours.

If you ever want to experiment with a non-Newtonian fluid, it's very easy. All you need is cornflour and water. You mix them together, and viola! You have a non-Newtonian fluid. I learned tonight that this particular mixture is called "Oobleck". There are many other common fluids that are non-Newtonian in different ways. Have a look at the Wikipedia page linked above!

Anyway, we made some and played with it.

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