Have you watched this video yet? It showcases some beautiful experiments performed by researchers studying the interaction of two-component fluids. The footage has been online for a few weeks now – but did you know you can reproduce this mesmerizing phenomenon in your own home?
Stanford researchers Nate Cira, Adrien Benusiglio, and Manu Prakash – who describe in a recent issue of Nature how the droplets are stabilized by gradients of evaporation-induced surface tension and move in response to vapor given off by neighboring droplets – put together this guide to recreating "dancing droplets" of your own. You'll need water, food coloring (or propylene glycol), glass slides, pipettes ( 1 mL should do), a sharpie, a ruler, a pair of tweezers, and fire:
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