Years ago, most of us learned the basic states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Even though those definitions expand quite a bit the further one moves into their study of the upper-tier sciences, one form of liquid is pretty entrancing regardless of how deep your knowledge of the varying characteristics of nature’s forms runs: the non-Newtonian liquid.
Despite the video showing that it’s pretty easy to make a non-Newtonian fluid, it’s hard to imagine something moving quite like that in our kitchen every day — but the odd form is more common than you think, says Ars Technica.
“Many non-Newtonian fluids exist that are staples of YouTube videos and science magic shows. But they’re also familiar from the kitchen: pudding is probably my favorite one (mmm, pudding), but tomato ketchup is also non-Newtonian.”
Below, a video shows some of the other fascinating properties of the substances — including the fact that it can support human weight for a brief period of time, much like quicksand.
That’s not to say these liquids will all be able to act the exact same way that the red non-Newtonian liquid from the video does. Like any other branch of scientific discovery, there’s still much more to be learned about the way that they work — not to mention that there are at least two distinctions between non-Newtonian liquid, explains Ars Technica.
“While there is one basic behavior for Newtonian fluids—their viscosity (resistance to flow) is independent of external stimuli—non-Newtonian fluids split into two groups. The first group, which includes quicksand, cornflour suspensions, and so forth, is known as shear-thickening: stirring, which creates shears between the deeper and shallower parts of a fluid, will increase its viscosity. This is why stirring a pudding is necessary to make it ‘set’… Ketchup, however, belongs to the shear-thinning group: perturbations make it easier for the fluid to flow. These fluids become thinner and less viscous when struck, so we won’t see videos of Adam Savage running across the surface of a wading pool filled with ketchup. Such is the disappointment we scientists must face from time to time, but it’s worth it to learn something new.”
Would you run across a pool of non-Newtonian liquid?
[Image via YouTube]