29 October 2006

Corn Starch Holes

Thank you, BM & SB for recommending I watch this video, with mandatory soundtrack + voiceover, of an experiment with.... corn starch. (Turn up those speakers.)

(The UT Austin research page @ the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics.)

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1 comment:

Crispy Herb Polenta said...

Okay so I'm just catching up on the back content but -- I saw this thing in person several months ago. There was a really interesting science-slash-art event at the Exploratorium here in SF, and a couple of engineers had one of these things set up. You could alter the frequency and see the effect on the corn starch behavior. It's hard to explain how completely fascinating it was -- and more than a little bit creepy.

If you think you can find out how to go about reproducing this, I'd be much obliged. A friend of mine who was also at the exhibit tried to make one for me as a birthday present, but unfortunately she didn't think too do any research about what kind of vibration is required and at what frequencies, so she just pulled a motor out of an old fan, which is probably entirely wrong. Also she used yeast instead of cornstarch. Also the container leaked all over everything. So it was pretty much a complete failure on every level, but the idea was good, and if I can find out how to really make it work, both of us will be really happy. (I googled it at the time but couldn't find anything except this video.)