News From the Field
How to Rip and Tear a Fluid
June 1, 2007
In a simple experiment on a mixture of water, soap and a salt, researchers have shown that a rigid object like a knife will pass through the mixture as if it were a liquid when speeds are slow, but when careening through at speed, the knife rips the mixture as if it were a rubbery solid. The experiment sheds light into the properties of many everyday materials, like toothpaste, that do not fall into the standard textbook case of solid, liquid or gas.
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