Soft Matter news

Daffodils help inspire design of stable structures

In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in dramatic fashion, twisting in the wind before it snapped and plunged into the water below. As wind blew across the span, the flow induced oscillating sideways forces that helped ...

dateMay 10, 2016 in Soft Matter
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Will raindrops stick to a spider web's threads?

If you go out after a rain, you may notice spider webs glistening with water droplets. The soggy webs resemble human-made meshes for fog collection: They both have thin fibers that collect water from droplets in the air.

dateApr 12, 2016 in Soft Matter
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Sharkskin actually increases drag

On an intuitive level, you'd expect a shark's skin to reduce drag. After all, the purpose of sharkskin-inspired riblets—the micro-grooved structures found in aircraft wings, wind turbine blades and Olympic-class swimsuits—is ...

dateMar 15, 2016 in Soft Matter
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Turbulence in bacterial cultures

Turbulent flows surround us, from complex cloud formations to rapidly flowing rivers. Populations of motile bacteria in liquid media can also exhibit patterns of collective motion that resemble turbulent flows, provided the ...

dateNov 30, 2015 in Soft Matter
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