Strange Water Behavior That Intrigued Leonardo Da Vinci Finally Explained

Posted: Aug 10 2018, 8:51am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 10 2018, 8:55am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Strange Water Behavior That Intrigued Leonardo da Vinci Finally Explained
A hydraulic jump is created by water flowing into a sink. Credit: James Niland

New study says that hydraulic jumps are created due to surface tension and viscosity

When water falls vertically from a tap on to the base of a household sink, it spreads radically outwards before entering the plughole. This strange water behavior is known as hydraulic jump and it has baffled researchers for decades.

Hydraulic jumps were first observed and documented by Italian inventor and painter Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was fascinated by the movement of water throughout his life. In 1819, the Italian mathematician Giovanni Giorgio Bidone provided the first theoretical explanation for the phenomenon and suggested that hydraulic jumps are created due to gravity. Since then, gravity appears to be a major driving force behind this phenomenon. But a new study explains the actual factors involved in the process and debunks all leading theories about the role of gravitational pull in hydraulic jump.

By firing jets of water upwards and sideways onto flat surfaces, researcher Rajesh Bhagat from University of Cambridge created exactly the same hydraulic jumps as those when the water flowed downwards. The results showed that the jump is formed when surface tension and viscosity are at work and gravity plays no significant role.

"His experiments and theory show that the surface tension of the liquid is the key to the process and has this has never before been recognized even though the problem was discussed by da Vinci and many others since,” said Professor Paul Linden from University of Cambridge. “This work represents a remarkable achievement in our understanding of the dynamics of thin layers of fluid."

Researchers found that altering the attributes of the water can accurately predict the size of the hydraulic jumps, regardless of its direction. The findings have important implications for industries that require high levels of water consumption.

"Knowing how to manipulate the boundary of a hydraulic jump is very important and now with this theory we can easily extend or reduce the boundary,” said Bhagat.

"Understanding this process has big implications and could reduce industrial water use dramatically. The new theory is already being used in practical work in the Chemical Engineering department. People can use this theory to find new ways to clean everything from cars to factory equipment."

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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