Simulations and experiments show how the speed of a conveyor belt changes the patterns created when a fluid stream trickles onto the belt.
Image courtesy of Columbia University (2011)
As the speed of a conveyor belt changes, so do the patterns created by a viscous (thick) liquid that resembles maple syrup. This maple-syrup-like liquid can make coil-like patterns, figure eight patterns or wavy line patterns. The image on the left shows a thin thread of this clear, viscous fluid creating intricate patterns. Simulations, like the image on the right are able to reproduce the same patterns, confirming the accuracy of a model developed to describe the pattern formation phenomenon. The video below shows this simulation in more detail. Applications of this coiling process range from predicting how nanotubes may coil to how transoceanic cable or pipelines settle at the bottom of the ocean.