Furry fluid mechanics

Motivated by diving semiaquatic mammals, we investigate the mechanism of dynamic air entrainment in hairy surfaces submerged in liquid. Hairy surfaces are cast out of polydimethylsiloxane elastomer and plunged into a fluid bath at different velocities. Experimentally, we find that the amount of air entrained is greater than what is expected for smooth surfaces. Theoretically, we show that the hairy surface can be considered as a porous medium and we describe the air entrainment via a competition between the hydrostatic forcing and the viscous resistance in the pores. A phase diagram that includes data from our experiments and biological data from diving semiaquatic mammals is included to place the model system in a biological context and predict the regime for which the animal is protected by a plastron of air.

see more: http://journals.aps.org/prfluids/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevFluids.1.033905