Place a viscous fluid in the gap between two plates of glass and you have created a Hele Shaw cell. If a less viscous fluid is then injected between the plates, a fascinating pattern of finger-like protrusions results. This is known as the Saffman-Taylor instability. Because of the relative simplicity of the set-up, it’s possible to create such experiments at home using common household fluids like glycerin, dish soap, dyed water, or laundry detergent. (Photo credits: Jessica Rosencranz, Jessica Todd, Laurel Swift et al, Andrea Fabri et al, Tanner Ladtkow et al, Mike Demmons et al, Trisha Harrison, Justin Cohee, and Erik Hansen)
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