Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Viscosity


Inducing thermal gradients in fluid systems with initial, well-defined density gradients results in the formation of distinct layered patterns, such as those observed in the ocean due to double-diffusive convection. In contrast, layered composite fluids are sometimes observed in confined systems of rather chaotic initial states, for example, lattes formed by pouring espresso into a glass of warm milk. Here, we report controlled experiments injecting a fluid into a miscible phase and show that, above a critical injection velocity, layering emerges over a time scale of minutes. We identify critical conditions to produce the layering, and relate the results quantitatively to double-diffusive convection. Based on this understanding, we show how to employ this single-step process to produce layered structures in soft materials, where the local elastic properties vary step-wise along the length of the material.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Sociology, Experiment, Fluid mechanics, Viscosity, Liquid, Materials science, Latte


Motility helps many pathogens swim through the highly viscous intestinal mucus. Given the differing outcomes of Campylobacter concisus infection, the motility of eight C. concisus strains isolated from patients with Crohn’s disease (n=3), acute (n=3) and chronic (n=1) gastroenteritis and a healthy control (n=1) were compared. Following growth on solid or liquid media the eight strains formed two groups; however, the type of growth medium did not affect motility. In contrast, following growth in viscous liquid medium seven of the eight strains demonstrated significantly decreased motility. In media of increasing viscosities the motility of C. concisus UNSWCD had two marked increases at viscosities of 20.0 and 74.7 centipoises. Determination of the ability of UNSWCD to swim through a viscous medium, adhere to and invade intestinal epithelial cells showed that while adherence levels significantly decreased with increasing viscosity, invasion levels did not significantly change. In contrast, adherence to and invasion of UNSWCD to mucus-producing intestinal cells increased upon accumulation of mucus, as did bacterial aggregation. Given this aggregation, we determined the ability of the eight C. concisus strains to form biofilms, and showed that all strains formed biofilms. In conclusion, the finding that C. concisus strains could be differentiated into two groups based on their motility may suggest that strains with high motility have an increased ability to swim through the intestinal mucus and reach the epithelial layer.

Concepts: Bacteria, Epithelium, Stomach, Viscosity, Biofilm, Respiratory epithelium, Diarrhea, Intestinal epithelium


We investigate the influences of expansion-contraction microchannels on droplet breakup in capillary microfluidic devices. With variations in channel dimension, local shear stresses at the injection nozzle and focusing orifice vary, significantly impacting flow behavior including droplet breakup locations and breakup modes. We observe transition of droplet breakup location from focusing orifice to injection nozzle, and three distinct types of recently-reported tip-multi-breaking modes. By balancing local shear stresses and interfacial tension effects, we determine the critical condition for breakup location transition, and characterize the tip-multi-breaking mode quantitatively. In addition, we identify the mechanism responsible for the periodic oscillation of inner fluid tip in tip-multi-breaking mode. Our results offer fundamental understanding of two-phase flow behaviors in expansion-contraction microstructures, and would benefit droplet generation, manipulation and design of microfluidic devices.

Concepts: Psychology, Fluid dynamics, Fluid mechanics, Viscosity, Liquid, Surface tension, Shear stress, Microfluidics


Water exists in high- and low-density amorphous ice forms (HDA and LDA), which could correspond to the glassy states of high- (HDL) and low-density liquid (LDL) in the metastable part of the phase diagram. However, the nature of both the glass transition and the high-to-low-density transition are debated and new experimental evidence is needed. Here we combine wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) with X-ray photon-correlation spectroscopy (XPCS) in the small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) geometry to probe both the structural and dynamical properties during the high-to-low-density transition in amorphous ice at 1 bar. By analyzing the structure factor and the radial distribution function, the coexistence of two structurally distinct domains is observed at T = 125 K. XPCS probes the dynamics in momentum space, which in the SAXS geometry reflects structural relaxation on the nanometer length scale. The dynamics of HDA are characterized by a slow component with a large time constant, arising from viscoelastic relaxation and stress release from nanometer-sized heterogeneities. Above 110 K a faster, strongly temperature-dependent component appears, with momentum transfer dependence pointing toward nanoscale diffusion. This dynamical component slows down after transition into the low-density form at 130 K, but remains diffusive. The diffusive character of both the high- and low-density forms is discussed among different interpretations and the results are most consistent with the hypothesis of a liquid-liquid transition in the ultraviscous regime.

Concepts: Ice, Force, Viscosity, Phase transition, Glass, Glass transition, X-rays, Small-angle X-ray scattering


Phase-change materials, such as meta-stable undercooled (supercooled) liquids, have been widely recognized as a suitable route for complex fabrication and engineering. Despite comprehensive studies on the undercooling phenomenon, little progress has been made in the use of undercooled metals, primarily due to low yields and poor stability. This paper reports the use of an extension of droplet emulsion technique (SLICE) to produce undercooled core-shell particles of structure; metal/oxide shell-acetate (‘/' = physisorbed, ’-‘ = chemisorbed), from molten Field’s metal (Bi-In-Sn) and Bi-Sn alloys. These particles exhibit stability against solidification at ambient conditions. Besides synthesis, we report the use of these undercooled metal, liquid core-shell, particles for heat free joining and manufacturing at ambient conditions. Our approach incorporates gentle etching and/or fracturing of outer oxide-acetate layers through mechanical stressing or shearing, thus initiating a cascade entailing fluid flow with concomitant deformation, combination/alloying, shaping, and solidification. This simple and low cost technique for soldering and fabrication enables formation of complex shapes and joining at the meso- and micro-scale at ambient conditions without heat or electricity.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Metal, Solid, Viscosity, Liquid, Fluid, Supercooling, Melting point


Terrestrial animals often use evaporative cooling to lower body temperature. Evaporation can occur from humid body surfaces or from fluids interfaced to the environment through a number of different mechanisms, such as sweating or panting. In Diptera, some flies move tidally a droplet of fluid out and then back in the buccopharyngeal cavity for a repeated number of cycles before eventually ingesting it. This is referred to as the bubbling behaviour. The droplet fluid consists of a mix of liquids from the ingested food, enzymes from the salivary glands, and antimicrobials, associated to the crop organ system, with evidence pointing to a role in liquid meal dehydration. Herein, we demonstrate that the bubbling behaviour also serves as an effective thermoregulatory mechanism to lower body temperature by means of evaporative cooling. In the blowfly, Chrysomya megacephala, infrared imaging revealed that as the droplet is extruded, evaporation lowers the fluid´s temperature, which, upon its re-ingestion, lowers the blowfly’s body temperature. This effect is most prominent at the cephalic region, less in the thorax, and then in the abdomen. Bubbling frequency increases with ambient temperature, while its cooling efficiency decreases at high air humidities. Heat transfer calculations show that droplet cooling depends on a special heat-exchange dynamic, which result in the exponential activation of the cooling effect.

Concepts: Thermoregulation, Temperature, Heat, Viscosity, Liquid, Heat transfer, Evaporation, Chrysomya megacephala


Biological microorganisms swim with flagella and cilia that execute nonreciprocal motions for low Reynolds number (Re) propulsion in viscous fluids. This symmetry requirement is a consequence of Purcell’s scallop theorem, which complicates the actuation scheme needed by microswimmers. However, most biomedically important fluids are non-Newtonian where the scallop theorem no longer holds. It should therefore be possible to realize a microswimmer that moves with reciprocal periodic body-shape changes in non-Newtonian fluids. Here we report a symmetric ‘micro-scallop’, a single-hinge microswimmer that can propel in shear thickening and shear thinning (non-Newtonian) fluids by reciprocal motion at low Re. Excellent agreement between our measurements and both numerical and analytical theoretical predictions indicates that the net propulsion is caused by modulation of the fluid viscosity upon varying the shear rate. This reciprocal swimming mechanism opens new possibilities in designing biomedical microdevices that can propel by a simple actuation scheme in non-Newtonian biological fluids.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Continuum mechanics, Fluid mechanics, Viscosity, Shear stress, Fluid, Non-Newtonian fluid, Newtonian fluid


Maintenance fluids in critically ill brain-injured patients are part of routine critical care. Both the amounts of fluid volumes infused and the type and tonicity of maintenance fluids are relevant in understanding the impact of fluids on the pathophysiology of secondary brain injuries in these patients. In this narrative review, current evidence on routine fluid management of critically ill brain-injured patients and use of haemodynamic monitoring is summarized. Pertinent guidelines and consensus statements on fluid management for brain-injured patients are highlighted. In general, existing guidelines indicate that fluid management in these neurocritical care patients should be targeted at euvolemia using isotonic fluids. A critical appraisal is made of the available literature regarding the appropriate amount of fluids, haemodynamic monitoring and which types of fluids should be administered or avoided and a practical approach to fluid management is elaborated. Although hypovolemia is bound to contribute to secondary brain injury, some more recent data have emerged indicating the potential risks of fluid overload. However, it is acknowledged that many factors govern the relationship between fluid management and cerebral blood flow and oxygenation and more research seems warranted to optimise fluid management and improve outcomes.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Patient, Traumatic brain injury, Illness, Neurology, Fluid mechanics, Viscosity, Fluid


Superomniphobic surfaces display contact angles > 150° and low contact angle hysteresis with essentially all contacting liquids. In this work, we report surfaces that display superomniphobicity with a range of different non-Newtonian liquids, in addition to super-omniphobicity with a wide range of Newtonian liquids. Our surfaces possess hierarchical scales of re-entrant texture that significantly reduces the solid-liquid contact area. Virtually all liquids including concentrated organic and inorganic acids, bases and solvents, as well as, vis-coelastic polymer solutions can easily roll-off and bounce on our surfaces. Consequently, they serve as effective chemical shields against virtually all liquids - organic or inorganic, polar or non-polar, Newtonian or non-Newtonian.

Concepts: Oxygen, Solubility, Viscosity, Angle, Hysteresis, Contact angle, Non-Newtonian fluid, Newtonian fluid


Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in the Universe. The energy density of these fields is typically comparable to the energy density of the fluid motions of the plasma in which they are embedded, making magnetic fields essential players in the dynamics of the luminous matter. The standard theoretical model for the origin of these strong magnetic fields is through the amplification of tiny seed fields via turbulent dynamo to the level consistent with current observations. However, experimental demonstration of the turbulent dynamo mechanism has remained elusive, since it requires plasma conditions that are extremely hard to re-create in terrestrial laboratories. Here we demonstrate, using laser-produced colliding plasma flows, that turbulence is indeed capable of rapidly amplifying seed fields to near equipartition with the turbulent fluid motions. These results support the notion that turbulent dynamo is a viable mechanism responsible for the observed present-day magnetization.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Physics, Matter, Fluid dynamics, Chemistry, Viscosity, Turbulence