Taylor column in rheoscopic fluid

I have a slightly complicated history with Taylor column experiments — even though the experiments look fine compared to all other videos I’ve found online, I somehow always had higher expectations.

But now I’ve tried doing the experiment in a rheoscopic fluid (approximately 2cm of it over the hockey puck) and it looks a whole lot better in person than in these pics!

Here is a movie of the experiment. The Taylor column is created by first spinning up the tank to (almost, or in my case not quite because I didn’t have enough time but really wanted to try this) solid body rotation, and then slightly reducing the rotation rate (and then slightly increasing it again) in order to create a flow relative to the obstacle.

In the movie it becomes quite clear that while in the very beginning a lot of fluid gets advected across the puck, this does not happen when the fluid is (close to) solid body rotation. Then, there is a column of fluid (the Taylor column) spinning on top of the obstacle.

But there are other cool features visible in the movie, like the shear instabilities around the puck, and the lee waves downstream of it.

Can’t wait to spin this up to full solid body rotation on Thursday and try again!

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