Non-Newtonian Fluids

Non-Newtonian Fluids

This interactive experiment deals with a sub-area of rheology that describes the flow properties and viscosity of liquids. While water always remains liquid under pressure, there are so-called non-Newtonian fluids that become more solid or liquid when pressure is applied.

In the case of our installation, we use a dilatant mixture of starch and water. At the right mixing ratio, this liquid solidifies even if low pressure is applied. In the cone of a subwoofer we can periodically apply pressure by playing a low-frequency sound. The substance alternates between solid and liquid and thus changes its state of matter approx. 30 times per second. Depending on the mixing ratio and the applied amplitude, frequency and waveform, the substance develops a dynamic neither attributable to the solid nor the liquid phase. It appears to have a mind of its own.