Drops and Splashes

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    Two public lectures under the auspices of the British Association were given at Preston (September 16) and at Rochdale (September 17) by Prof. Allan Ferguson, who took as his subject “Splashes and What They Teach”. The lectures dealt with the phenomena attendant on the formation and separation of a drop of water at the end of a vertical tube, the splash of a drop of liquid falling into a liquid, of a solid sphere falling into a liquid and of a drop of mercury falling on to a horizontal sheet of glass. As is well known, experiments were carried out by Worthington some forty years ago in order to elucidate some of these happenings. Photographic technique was then very primitive, and Worthington's experiments were carried out under difficult conditions. Recently a high-speed camera has been developed, in which the film is drawn continuously through the camera at a speed of about thirty mile3 an hour. A prism rotating rapidly about a horizontal axis is placed between the lens system of the camera and the film, and throws a picture of the object downwards on the film, so that, for a fraction of a second, the image is stationary relative to the film. In this way it becomes possible to take pictures at the rate of 2,000 a second, and therefore, by running them through a projector at the rate of 20 a second, to alter the time-scale in the ratio of a hundred to one. The films so taken corroborate in a remarkable manner the results obtained by Worthington's method of taking separate photographs of drops, each at a different stage of its fall.

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