Afternoon Hypnosis: Watch These Droplets Coalesce and Break at Terminal Velocity

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It’s (relatively) easy to get water droplets to move at terminal velocity. They don’t even have to be moving relative to you. Just get air flowing upwards fast enough, and the water will hover, without increasing its speed up or down. Then throw more water drops at it, and see what happens.

Above is a relatively long video—but you don’t have to watch it all at once. And if you do decide to watch for a while, you’ll find it’s worth it. After a while, the video will really give you a sense of how water moves. It’s interesting to see that small drops can fall faster than larger ones. After each crash, you learn to anticipate whether the drop will break up or suck itself together again to regain stability.

What’s really cool is the part towards the end of the video, in which you see the droplets widen out into umbrellas, then widen out farther into half-bubbles, and then burst. Do yourself a favor: open up another window and listen to Enya’s Orinoco Flow while you watch this. You won’t regret it. It will cure your Monday.


Alternately, leave your own music suggestions in the comments.

[Source: University of Manchester]