Each year, the American Physical Society hosts the Annual Meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics. A highlight of this is the Gallery of Fluid Motion, a competition of videos showcasing fascinating science into all aspects of fluid dynamics. You can find a link to all of the videos, including this year’s prize winners here. Listed below however are a few videos with links to coffee, cafes or just generally beautiful physics that you may be able to replicate in your kitchen.
How do fish know how to swim together in a school? An illuminating study that helps us to find out:
The strange and wonderful patterns formed by dropping a small amount of dyed water onto glycerin:
Can you bounce a liquid drop on a liquid? Yes, it even explains something we may have noticed while brewing pour overs, but what about bouncing liquids on a solid:
Finally, although it refers to something we may not want to think too much about, there is some beautiful physics going on as people exhale, with and without masks:
You may recognise the sound of something that is deep frying. But what fluid physics is causing it? You need to “listen to your tempura”
It stretches it a bit to call this “coffee” or “cafe” physics but many people have tattoos and surprisingly, no one has really ever investigated how the ink gets under the skin. Until now of course:
The Leidenfrost effect is something that you will have seen often while frying eggs. This takes a closer look at the Leidenfrost drops:
Experiments you can do at home. The first is to look at the patterns formed as a drop of food colouring spreads on a mixture of water and xanthan gum (available in many supermarkets for gluten free cooking).
Secondly, how does water flow out of a bottle?
Do take a look at the full gallery (here) and even have a go at one or two of the experiments. It would be great if you would share your photos of fractal patterns formed by food dye or even if you’ve been inspired by any of the other videos. Whatever you do, enjoy your coffee.