Capturing the fluid flow of sneezes
Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have described a striking sequence of shapes found in the fluid we eject when we sneeze.
Using high-speed cameras, they saw that the stream of mucus and saliva breaks up into drops by way of a progression that includes sheets of fluid, bags, and finally beaded strings.
The process is important to understand because it determines the final spread of droplet sizes - a critical factor in how a sneeze spreads germs.
The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics, in Boston.
Video courtesy of the Bourouiba Group, MIT. It forms part of the study "Visualization of sneeze ejecta: Steps of fluid fragmentation leading to respiratory droplets" by Scharfman et al, which is due out soon in the journal Experiments in Fluids
24 Nov 2015