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Vortex smoke ring Collision. Wow!
August 17, 2009 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Two vortex smoke rings colliding. Sounds simple, looks awesome.
posted by Mr_Zero (75 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite

 
You tell the truth, sir.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:05 PM on August 17, 2009


I can corroborate the above claim.
posted by chimaera at 8:06 PM on August 17, 2009


Here's some good analysis of what's happening.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2009


Does what it says on the tin. Wow indeed.
posted by rtha at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2009


I bet Gandalf could do those. Not Bilbo, though. Frickin' halfling poser.
posted by yhbc at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


How do I do this at home?
posted by bigmusic at 8:10 PM on August 17, 2009


sir, the truth is told by you
posted by @troy at 8:16 PM on August 17, 2009


two smoke ring blowers must try this stat!
posted by smoke at 8:18 PM on August 17, 2009


I wish my post would come up twice.
posted by Balisong at 8:18 PM on August 17, 2009


HAY GUYZ WHAT IF GANDALF
OH
posted by otolith at 8:18 PM on August 17, 2009 [18 favorites]


*Yawn*
Teach dolphins how to do it...then I'm interested.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:20 PM on August 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Make: How to Make a Vortex Cannon
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:23 PM on August 17, 2009


neat!
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:23 PM on August 17, 2009


That's how we make the candy that gives superpowers?
posted by Mike Mongo at 8:28 PM on August 17, 2009


O O
posted by Sys Rq at 8:34 PM on August 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I went "squee!" even more than for the slow loris. Guess that makes me a nerd.

REPRESENT!
posted by nonspecialist at 8:36 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next time I'm around a hookah, I am going to make this happen.
posted by clearly at 8:37 PM on August 17, 2009


That was TOTALLY WICKED!
posted by contessa at 8:38 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next time I'm around a hookah, I am going to make this happen.


You're gonna need more than one.

Also really thick smoke.

Also two Atlantians with their mighty Sea-Lungs.

Also colored smoke.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 PM on August 17, 2009


Whenever I am tempted to tune out the local math-nerd when he/she goes on and on about quantum mangling and emergent systems and blah blah blah, I see something like this, and start to pay =sharp= attention. I still won't understand it, but I hope they'll take mercy on a sycophant when they achieve singularity and attain godhood.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:50 PM on August 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


OK, so that particle effect goes into my next video game. Thanks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:54 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, you need me there. I'll bring mine.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on August 17, 2009


Needs hella more HD.
posted by exhilaration at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2009


This is one of the cooler things I have ever seen.

I would never have guessed that they would interfere with each other like that. I work with fields and waves all the time but the medium I work in (radio waves) is linear, meaning that wave don't interfere like that. Radio waves pass right through each other and continue along their merry way, they don't bounce off each other.

Its really cool to see signals interfere in a nonlinear system like this. How cool are all all those little mini vorteces that form! I wonder how much alignment they needed to do to get that perfectly shaped collision?
posted by jpdoane at 8:58 PM on August 17, 2009


Fantastic, thanks for posting this.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:14 PM on August 17, 2009


awesome
posted by mistersquid at 9:14 PM on August 17, 2009


Awesome!!!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:15 PM on August 17, 2009


They have babies!
posted by Artw at 9:19 PM on August 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's made of science!
posted by device55 at 9:24 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


3! 2! 1!

CONTACT

it's the

MOMENT!

It's the

REASON!

Why

EVERYTHING HAPPENS!
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:26 PM on August 17, 2009 [25 favorites]


my high school physics teacher would be delighted that I saw little vector overlays in my mind and went "oh, yeah, that totally makes sense in three dimensions..."

but the little mini-rings that form tangential and perpendicular to the original rings are just awesome. I shall henceforth refer to them as "Spanish Inquisition Rings" as I did not expect them.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 9:50 PM on August 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


Ahem. Still freakin' awesome.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2009


A+++ Would Watch Again!
posted by nonliteral at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2009


Since this video seems to be early 1990s vintage, someone really needs to reproduce the effect using HD cameras from multiple angles and better lighting.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:52 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


This made me spontaneously exclaim "cool!" on a day I've barely spoken out loud at all.
posted by Mizu at 10:05 PM on August 17, 2009


Since this video seems to be early 1990s vintage, someone really needs to reproduce the effect using HD cameras from multiple angles and better lighting.

This looks like a job for... THOSE GUYS ON TIME WARP!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:07 PM on August 17, 2009


Dude! It forms little mini vortexes all around the impact points...
Yes, I'll admit, this made me squee loud enough to scare my cat.
posted by strixus at 10:15 PM on August 17, 2009


Is this feeling that I have... Is it what your people call "squee"?
posted by fleacircus at 10:23 PM on August 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


I see your vortex, and raise you a pyrophone...

(previously)
posted by mrzarquon at 10:27 PM on August 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Some of the other videos are somewhat less science related. But still pretty funny.
Whenever I am tempted to tune out the local math-nerd when he/she goes on and on about quantum mangling and emergent systems and blah blah blah, I see something like this, and start to pay =sharp= attention.
Well, that's nice and all but thanks to the unsolvability of the Navier Stokes math doesn't really have much to say about these patterns, they are pretty much unpredictable, unless you actually simulate the entire thing on a computer (As far as I know)
posted by delmoi at 10:31 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


technically, it's a ruben's tube, and the vortex collision is still really awesome.

But that was the first thing I thought of, fun air compression / sound wave tricks but with fire!
posted by mrzarquon at 10:40 PM on August 17, 2009


" fun air compression / sound wave tricks but with fire!"

I have seen some pretty cool fire tricks at that thing that steals all of your rights and is evil, but not vortex interference effects.

That would be awesome.
posted by flaterik at 10:59 PM on August 17, 2009


Saw this on Reddit this morning and I agree it's awesome.

What's most awesome about are the precise experimental conditions that were created, allowing it to happen. Any variation between the strength of the two original smoke rings, or any atmospheric interference, and it would all have crashed. It's pretty cool how regular the universe is if you can manage to isolate any one phenomenon from the tumbling complexity that comprises streetcorner cacophony.
posted by scarabic at 11:08 PM on August 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


> but not vortex interference effects.

they haven't figured out how to set fire to them, yet..
posted by mrzarquon at 11:09 PM on August 17, 2009


Well, I've seen a handful of flame vortexes out there (including one very large one that I somehow can't find pictures of), but not interference effects. I suspect having any wind at all would make it pretty difficult to do.
posted by flaterik at 11:26 PM on August 17, 2009


I wonder how much computing power you would need to simulate that. It would make a wicked cool toy to play with. Any bored physics grads out there?
posted by dopeypanda at 11:30 PM on August 17, 2009


I wonder how much computing power you would need to simulate that.

Probably substantially less than what it takes to run the latest Bioshock game on the highest resolution.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:31 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is what happens when smoke rings start texting.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:38 PM on August 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


the tumbling complexity that comprises streetcorner cacophony

Nice turn of phrase.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:15 AM on August 18, 2009


O wow, man! I miss my Lava Lamp.
posted by Twang at 1:10 AM on August 18, 2009


Oh cool, someone else reads Reddit. Awesome.
posted by tastydonuts at 2:14 AM on August 18, 2009


What we need is an experiment where two guys blow blunt rings at each other.
posted by bwg at 2:30 AM on August 18, 2009


Man, fluid dynamics is fascinating. It's amazing that something so common as the movement of fluids around us is still so poorly understood.

I wonder how much computing power you would need to simulate that. It would make a wicked cool toy to play with. Any bored physics grads out there?

It takes a lot of computing power. So far as I know, this is generally the domain of mechanical engineers, and producing three-dimensional dynamic simulations of fluid movement (gaseous or liquid) is hard-core stuff. Just simulating simple, two-dimensional flame-fronts over a few seconds can take over 24 hours of computations (although granted, that also includes temperature calculations and involves a chemical reaction).

Beautiful video, and as mentioned upthread, I would love to see it with a better quality camera!
posted by molecicco at 2:39 AM on August 18, 2009


Note caption: "This is what physicists do when they're high."
posted by Nelson at 3:26 AM on August 18, 2009


I remember the Pixies' drummer David Lovering effected a vortex cannon with a bass drum (he used to open with a little magic show for Frank Black).

Also the VHS vermislitude is teh hawt.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:17 AM on August 18, 2009


I wonder how much computing power you would need to simulate that. It would make a wicked cool toy to play with.

This really depends on how fast you want it done. You can always just do a step-wise finite element analysis through each point in space at each step in time, and determine the forces acting on each particle at each moment. Could be done by hand, theoretically. But those are some gnarly equations (Navier-Stokes represent, as delmoi said) that are actually unsolvable by conventional methods at the moment, so you'd have to throw in some approximations.

But all in all, you could come up with some fun approximate simulations if you don't want it too accurate/reproducible or too quickly. Well over 24 hours, even for a small part of the ring, as molecicco predicted.

That was a seriously cool video. Also cool is the corn starch cthulu. (Wait for it...)
posted by This Guy at 4:55 AM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think of two galaxies colliding when I look at that video, someone find me a real life example out there!
posted by furtive at 5:00 AM on August 18, 2009


Also cool is the corn starch cthulu . (Wait for it...)

Oh man, the standing waves were pretty cool, but the corn starch fingers were incredible!
posted by molecicco at 5:07 AM on August 18, 2009


Exquisite.
posted by nickyskye at 5:45 AM on August 18, 2009


But those are some gnarly equations (Navier-Stokes represent, as delmoi said) that are actually unsolvable by conventional methods at the moment, so you'd have to throw in some approximations.

Just out of curiosity, could you explain a little more what you mean by this? How can they have equations which are unsolvable --- do they contain a variable whose value is somehow unknowable? Or is it some other reason? And how do you come up with them, if they can't be solved?
posted by Diablevert at 6:00 AM on August 18, 2009


Just out of curiosity, could you explain a little more what you mean by this?

They're differential equations (meaning that you describe the change with time) for the movement of fluids. The equations relate pressure and viscosity to change in position and momentum of all the "pieces" of the fluid. They're hard, so for most initial setups of the fluid we don't know how to write down exactly what the fluid will look like in the future.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:11 AM on August 18, 2009


George Lucas' inspiration for the Special Edition explosions?
posted by CaseyB at 6:25 AM on August 18, 2009


Best of the WebLaws of Physics
posted by ChrisR at 6:28 AM on August 18, 2009


The reason they can't always be solved is because there are a lot of non-linearities involved (for example, viscosity of a fluid can change with shear stress... toothpaste and ketchup are like this). Solving a partial differential equation that include non-linearities is not always possible.
posted by molecicco at 6:44 AM on August 18, 2009


I like the little video jump at the exact moment the smoke collides, like it's the result of a shockwave miles away.
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 AM on August 18, 2009


In related news, my efforts to duplicate this with ketchup and toothpaste rings has been largely unsuccessful.

It also created a taste which can only be described as "an vortex explosion of gross".

Fantastic video though.
posted by quin at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also two Atlantians with their mighty Sea-Lungs.

We have sea-lungs in Atlanta? Must be from all the air pollution.
posted by spilon at 8:12 AM on August 18, 2009


So, I watched the corn starch cthulu video that This Guy linked up above, and I only realized halfway through whose video that is - how many people in the internet are likely to be named stavrosTWC?
posted by yhbc at 8:29 AM on August 18, 2009


That effect is awesome but the video is utter crap!

WTB higher quality footage, thx.
posted by keep_evolving at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2009


Just out of curiosity, could you explain a little more what you mean by this? How can they have equations which are unsolvable --- do they contain a variable whose value is somehow unknowable? Or is it some other reason? And how do you come up with them, if they can't be solved?

Differential equations describe a constraint that you want your solution to follow and to "solve" them you must somehow divine a solution that follows that constraint. (There might even be more than one solution.) It's easy to come up with any constraint you want but usually very hard to come up with solutions that fit those constraints. Courses on differential equations teach you tricks to divine solutions for certain easy constraints that we know a lot about, but some constraints are hard enough that sometimes it is not even clear whether there is a solution or not.
posted by Nioate at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2009


Okay, I realize I'm late to the game here, but ...

I did my bachelor's thesis on vortex rings (pre-LaTeX: I had to write my equations in the manuscript by hand).

Did my dissertation on methods for hyperbolic PDEs.

Work with Navier-Stokes codes for a living.

So, to follow up on earlier N-S comments: you can indeed find approximate solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations. The reason they are hard to solve is that non-linearity means that each solution is its own beast. You can't add two solution functions and get another function which satisfies the equation. However, it is possible to find a particular solution and then use perturbation analysis to derive a set of closely related solutions.

Numerically, there is still lots of room for improvement in CFD codes. Solution-Adaptive Mesh Refinement is a big one, with some people looking at adjoint-based techniques. There is also a lot of work going on with turbulence models, because no matter how fine your grid, you still can't resolve every scale of turbulence.

Modeling this particular system wouldn't be too bad. It's all laminar and you could do it with CART3D (a NASA adaptive mesh refinement code).
posted by Araucaria at 3:26 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shoot, I just came in here to say what Araucaria just said. Dang it!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:25 PM on August 18, 2009


> So, I watched the corn starch cthulu video that This Guy linked up above, and I only realized halfway through whose video that is - how many people in the internet are likely to be named stavrosTWC?

Stavros has a voice deeper than the subdivisions at R'lyeh, and couldn't go the full length of the video without getting coffee. However, unless I'm a squirrel this is his YouTube Channel.
posted by xorry at 8:46 PM on August 18, 2009


Giant vortex cannon.
posted by cdmwebs at 8:48 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm getting malware warnings for links to http://technology.todaysbigthing.com. Just so you know.
posted by seanyboy at 4:35 AM on August 20, 2009


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