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Author Topic: Why does water form swirly patterns?  (Read 4022 times)

Offline thedoc

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« on: 14/09/2010 18:07:18 »
I was swimming in the sea recently and noticed that the water had a swirling effect. Right next to where I was standing or any pillars in the water, it was really pronounced and we were trying to work out why it was happening.
Asked by Liz Kamerer


                                       

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« Last Edit: 14/09/2010 18:07:18 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #1 on: 14/09/2010 18:07:18 »
Dave -  You'll certainly see some swirling effects if you've got the water flowing past a column due to a tide - the wake formed can look quite swirly. You can also get whirlpools created by tides flowing round corners and water being sucked underneath, which form what used to be called maelstroms.
Chris -   There's some incredible youtube footage of one off the west coast of Scotland
Dave -   And there's some quite serious ones in the Strait of Messina that I sailed past once too.
Chris -  Not into them I hope!
« Last Edit: 14/09/2010 18:07:18 by _system »
 

Offline LeeE

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #2 on: 20/09/2010 00:15:32 »
Quote
Chris -   There's some incredible youtube footage of one off the west coast of Scotland

Dunno how I missed this thread for so long...

I'm guessing that Chris is talking about Corryvreckan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corryvreckan

When I used to do a lot of kayaking Corryvreckan was one of the 'monsters' to be confronted.
 

Offline tommya300

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #3 on: 20/09/2010 06:48:28 »
 

Offline thedoc

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #4 on: 10/12/2010 15:32:56 »
We discussed this question on our  show
Dave - You'll certainly see some swirling effects if you've got the water flowing past a column due to a tide - the wake formed can look quite swirly. You can also get whirlpools created by tides flowing round corners and water being sucked underneath, which form what used to be called maelstroms.
Chris -  There's some incredible youtube footage of one off the west coast of Scotland
Dave -  And there's some quite serious ones in the Strait of Messina that I sailed past once too.
Chris -  Not into them I hope!

Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

SteveFish

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #5 on: 13/12/2010 02:44:16 »
Actually, just about any shearing movement of a fluid (air and water in our general experience) will form a vortex. For example, in water a vortex forms around ones hands and arms when swimming, and behind boat propellers. In the air there are some nifty pictures of vortices forming behind aircraft wings, but they also form around everything that sticks up into the wind, such as a house. They are everywhere, but difficult to see.
 

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Why does water form swirly patterns?
« Reply #5 on: 13/12/2010 02:44:16 »

 

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