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Flow Birefringence

Flow Birefringence

Piece description from the artist

Flow birefringence happens when a fluid's symmetry is broken in a flow. At rest, the fluid is more or less the same in every direction (completely disordered = completely symmetric at scales greater than a few molecular nearest neighbors' distances). If the fluid is complex or structured, then there are long molecules dissolved in the fluid, or chains of electrostatically linked particles, or other soft stuff components inside the fluid. This soft stuff can align and stretch in response to flow. When this happens, the fluid is no longer symmetric and no longer optically identical in all directions. In cross polarized light, stripes of color – flow birefringence and form birefringence will appear. this phenomena is useful in analyzing flows and stresses on complex fluids in different flow geometries. As art, "Flow Birefringence" is not a precise representation of flow data. It is rather more allegorical, with chains of shapes alluding to the process of flow induced alignment and stretching, and rough stripes of color referring back to the optical properties of the fluid.

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30.0" x 24.0"
acrylic on stretched canvas

Unfortunately, the original of this work is not available. However, one of our friendly Personal Curators can reach out to the artist to see if they’d be interested in a commission. Get in touch.

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