www.fluids.ac.uk
Fluid mechanics underpins many established and emerging UK industries as well as critical societal issues such as air pollution, energy consumption, climate science, biology and medicine. Fluid mechanics is particularly strong in the UK, with world-class activity at several dozen institutions, involving hundreds of scientists and engineers. These institutions and individuals work together through the UK Fluids Network in order to benefit from the recent trend towards funding a small number of large grants.

Videos sponsored by the UK Fluids Network

How to Reduce Drag when Cycling
Cyclists can use up to 90% of their energy overcoming drag, which was the motivation behind the work of Ivaylo Nedyalkov at the University of New Hampshire, who was able to measure the force on each individual cyclist in a train formation to determine the best position to reduce your overall drag
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Why shaking your head will NOT remove water from your ear
Removing water from your ear canal by shaking requires an acceleration 10 times that of gravity according to research from Sunny Jung at Virginia Tech (now Cornell).
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Building Squid and Octopus Robots for Underwater Exploration
Current underwater vehicles are rigid in structure which limits their suitability for many tasks required for ocean exploration. Francesco Giorgio-Serchi is working with a team at the University of Southampton to design new robots based on squids and octopuses that are made entirely from silicone. They are not only more mobile, but are also more reliable and more efficient.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Building bio-inspired vehicles to explore Mars
The air density on Mars is 1/100th of that on Earth which means that current airborne vehicles cannot be used to explore the planet. Jeremy Pohly, at the University of Alabama Huntsville, is designing new bio-inspired vehicles - based on bumblebees - which he hopes will be used in the near future for the human exploration of Mars.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do bees carry pollen?
Pollen is the main source of protein in a honey bees diet and so it's essential that they are able to carry enough of it safely back to the hive. Marguerite Matherne at the Georgia Institute of Technology studies how they use nectar to create a viscous suspension that sticks the pollen to their hind legs and ensures that it doesn't fall off during flight.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do citrus fruits create such a strong smell?
Citrus fruits contain small pockets of liquid which burst upon contact releasing a jet of strong smelling oil into the air. The strong smell is designed to attract animals to the site to help to spread the seeds of the fruit as far as possible. Andrew Dickerson at the University of Central Florida has recorded the squirting motion using high speed cameras to try to understand the exact process of these 'micro-jets' of citrus oil.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Levitating Objects on an Air Table
Air-tables create a thin film of air capable of supporting objects and causing them to levitate. By adding grooves to the table or the object, Professor John Hinch at the University of Cambridge was able to control the objects motion and describe the resultant acceleration in terms of a simple scaling relationship involving gravity and the aspect ratio.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do Insects Walk on Water?
Using the surface tension of water and a hydrophobic coating on their legs, many insects are able to walk on water. The surface tension acts like an invisible blanket across the top of the water, while the hydrophobic coating on the insects legs means that they are repelled from water molecules, much like the repulsion of two magnets with the same pole. By studying the simple case of a hydrophobic sphere being dropped into water from different heights, Daniel Harris and his team at Brown University were able to improve our understanding of the mechanism of water-walking and use it to help build water-walking robots.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do Bubbles Freeze?
Freezing bubbles are not only beautiful, but also demonstrate incredibly complex physics. Here, Professor Jonathan Boreyko explains how bubbles freeze with examples of slow motion videos filmed in his laboratory at Virginia Tech.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How Strong is an Avalanche?
Measuring the forces present in an avalanche using light. Amalia Thomas from the University of Cambridge explains how to measure the forces between colliding particles in an avalanche based on their photo-elastic response and refractive index.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Martin Fourcade: the Science behind the Olympic Biathlon Skiing Champion
Five-time Olympic Biathlon Skiing Champion Martin Fourcade enlisted the help of two scientists - Caroline Cohen and Christophe Clanet at Ecole Polytechnique - to help to decide the best type of wax to use on his skis in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Here's how they did it...
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How to Make Water Music - Slap, Plunge, Plow!
Female musicians from the northern islands of Vanuatu use the water surface as an instrument to create a variety of unique sounds - slap, plunge, plow - which they accompany with singing. Each interaction with the water surface produces a different acoustic response corresponding to the air-water-hand interaction, each of which has been studied by Randy Hurd and Tadd Truscott of Utah State University.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Vortex Ring Collisions and Transition to Turbulence
Vortex ring collisions are incredibly beautiful and also incredibly complex. Ryan McKeown of Harvard University explains his amazing experiments visualising colliding vortex rings and their transition to turbulence.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How does Stone Skipping work?
By bouncing elastic spheres across the surface of Bear Lake in Utah researchers have discovered the physics behind stone skipping. The mechanism of 'water walking' occurs when a deformed sphere rotates continuously across the surface of the water giving the appearance that the sphere is literally walking on water.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Air Pollution Risk of Cooking Oil Droplets
Cooking oil in a frying pan can be dangerous when the 'explosive' droplets touch your skin, but new research shows that they also increase the risk of indoor air pollution if not properly ventilated.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Cleaning up Oil Spills using Maths
Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, scientists at the University of Cambridge have been studying underwater plumes to try to understand how the Earth's rotation affects the spread of oil. Their experiments revealed the important role played by conservation of angular momentum after one rotation period, emphasising the importance of a rapid response to a disaster.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Visualising Airflow around a Sail with Experiments and Simulations
The flow of air around a sail is very different to that of a wing, but both generate significant lift force. Ignazio Maria Viola at the University of Edinburgh studied sails in numerical simulations and experiments to discover the force comes from vortices that are produced at the edges of the sail. By controlling the strength and location of these vortices he hopes to be able to produce faster and more efficient sails in the future.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Fire and Ice: Burning Oil in the Polar Regions
One of the clean-up methods used following an oil spill is to burn the fuel on the surface of the ocean. This generally works well, except in polar regions where the heat from the fire rapidly accelerates the melting of ice. Hamed Farahani at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is studying this phenomenon using laboratory experiments with the goal of improving the efficiency of combustion as a control for ocean pollution.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How does Sea Ice affect Climate Change?
There is no doubt that sea ice in the polar regions is melting, but what is the exact role that this plays in the global climate system? To understand climate change we need to understand mixing in the ocean, which is exactly what Andrew Wells at the University of Oxford comes is trying to do by studying a model for sea ice growth in the Arctic
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do Stinging Nettles Inject Poison?
The leaves of stinging nettles are covered in pipette-like stingers which penetrate the skin on contact and deposit a small amount of poison. The pipette-like design means that almost all of the poison contained in the stinger can be injected at once if sufficient force is applied to bend the stinger to an angle of 90 degrees. This is demonstrated in laboratory experiments conducted by Kaare Jensen at the Technical University of Denmark.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
How do Jellyfish Sting?
Jellyfish stingers reach an acceleration 50 times faster than that of a bullet as they are ejected from stinging capsules under high pressure. Uri Shavit at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has developed a new mathematical model to explain this incredible mechanism which will help to make us better prepared to protect swimmers from jellyfish stings.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Smelling Underwater with the Star-Nosed Mole
Star-nosed moles are able to smell underwater by quickly exhaling and re-inhaling air bubbles as they search for prey. The bubbles are trapped close to the moles nostrils by a ring of tiny pink tentacles, which gives rise to the name 'star-nosed'. The tentacles are the most sensitive known touch organ of any mammal.
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network
Spike Waves, Rogue Waves and Hokusai's Great Wave off Kanagawa
Rogue Waves occur when a larger wave appears in a group of smaller waves. In some circumstances these can lead to an exaggerated 'Spike Wave', or a crashing wave resembling the Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. The Draupner wave is another example of a freak wave which occurred in the North Sea in 1995, reaching a height of almost 20m. Mark McAllister at the University of Oxford, sought to recreate the Draupner wave in the FloWave laboratory in Edinburgh to study how such waves form
Credit: Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp, sponsored by FYFD, CUP, and the UK Fluids Network