Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Does Vibrating Cornstarch Have in Common with Acid-Base Neutralization?

I'm sure you didn't wake up this morning with that question on your mind but it turns out that both of them make these bizarre undulating "finger" structures that look unnervingly alive.

Here's the cornstarch movie where you can see the "fingers" in motion.

And what was just found out is that if a less-dense acid reacts with a more dense base -- no shaking, no heating, just a humdrum chemical reaction between two phases -- then the same kind of "fingers" form. Here's a picture [piclink including video]:

1 comment:

Scott said...

If the reaction is exothermic, then the fluid at the interface gets warm, which likely makes it less dense, which causes it to want to rise.