Filmmaker Thomas Blanchard has once again released a beautiful, fluid-filled short to captivate us. Built from paint, oil, and liquid soap, “The Empire of C” feels like it gives viewers a birds-eye perspective over a fantastical land. I was particularly drawn to two fluid dynamical aspects of the film. The first were the dendritic sequences in the opening, which feel a bit like watching river deltas form in real time. Despite their resemblance to the Saffman-Taylor instability, I think these fingers are interfacially driven – meaning that they result from differences in surface tension between the different liquids Blanchard is using. 

The second thing that caught my eye and made me rewind the video over and over were the glittery droplets. The glitter acts like tracer particles, allowing you to see the flow inside the droplets. Check out that counter-circulation compared to the paint flowing by outside! It’s a reminder that even inside a seemingly still droplet, there’s lots going on. (Video and image credit: T. Blanchard)

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