Complex waves generate flow patterns that could be used to manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach
Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.
The group, led by Professor Michael Shats discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will.
"We have figured out a way of creating waves that can force a floating object to move against the direction of the wave," said Dr Horst Punzmann, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering, who led the project.
"No one could have guessed this result," he said.
The new technique gives scientists a way of controlling things adrift on water in a way they have never had before, resembling sci-fi tractor beams that draw in objects.
Using a ping-pong ball in a wave tank, the group worked out the size and frequency of the waves required to move the ball in whichever direction they want.
Advanced particle tracking tools, developed by team members Dr Nicolas Francois and Dr Hua Xia, revealed that the waves generate currents on the surface of the water.
"We found that above a certain height, these complex three-dimensional waves generate flow patterns on the surface of the water," Professor Shats said. "The tractor beam is just one of the patterns, they can be inward flows, outward flows or vortices."
The team also experimented with different shaped plungers to generate different swirling flow patterns.
As yet no mathematical theory can explain these experiments, Dr Punzmann said.
"It's one of the great unresolved problems, yet anyone in the bathtub can reproduce it. We were very surprised no one had described it before."
Michael Shats | Eurek Alert!
Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems
29.04.2016 | University of Cambridge
Possible Extragalactic Source of High-Energy Neutrinos
28.04.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.
Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine
29.04.2016 | Life Sciences