2 Vortex Rings Collide in a Groundbreaking (and Awesome-Looking) Science Experiment

From building transparent potato guns to discussing why scientists are burning astronaut pee (seriously), YouTube channel Smarter Every Day has long been demonstrating the many ways science is fascinating.

Not only do we learn more about how the world around us works, but explosions and slo-mo and lasers can make engineering and science just plain fun. There’s also an important underlying lesson in persistence in pursuit of your goals and dreams, shown clearly in the channel’s recent fluid mechanics experiment.

Did we lose you at “fluid mechanics”? Stay with us. This incredible experiment was years in the making, as Destin and his team worked through failure after failure to recreate and capture a mesmerizing demonstration of vortices colliding in water.
While it looks like a relatively simple experiment with ink in an aquarium, there were so many variables to consider that this project took four years from concept to completion to capture. Destin’s goal was to recreate the vortex collision experiment, last captured on a fuzzy videotape in 1992, in glorious, clear high-definition.

The challenges came in the many variables to consider to get the dye in the water to collide just right, including temperature, cannon spacing, the speed of the pistons, resetting and cleaning the tank, dye density, and so much more. And then there’s the equipment to capture the experiment in the high-quality imagery Destin was aiming for.

Through it all, Destin never gave up on his goal. “What is your vortex collision?” he asks in the video, encouraging viewers to push through the failures at home, school, and work to reach their own dreams.

If you’re dying to know more about the (literal) nuts and bolts of this experiment, you can also check out the 12-hour unedited behind the scenes video on the other Smarter Every Day YouTube channel. And don’t forget to take a look at Because Science right here on Nerdist for even more science facts and fun!

What was an obstacle you overcame? Tell us about it in the comments.

Featured Image: Smarter Every Day (Screen Capture)

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