Flow visualization is the process of making the physics of fluid flows (gases, liquids) visible. This site is devoted to a course for mixed teams of engineering and fine arts photography and video students at the University of Colorado. In this course, we explore a range of techniques for creating images of fluid flows. Our work is motivated not just by the utility and importance of fluid flows, but also by their inherent beauty. Flow visualization is for everybody: if you have paid attention to the patterns while stirring milk into coffee or stared at the curl of a rising tendril of smoke you have participated in flow visualization. Art and science are similar in that they both thrive on deep seeing, on expanded perception and attention, which can be gained through simple experience. Everyone is capable of this. Spend some time noticing flow visualization around you and you’ll find your life is richer. Please explore this site; there are resources for teachers and students of all levels, as well as amazing images that anyone can enjoy.
Flow Vis Collection
In honor of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics 70th Annual meeting a collection of Flow Vis work spanning the entire history of the course is being projected on the Grand Concourse at the Colorado Convention Center, November 19-21, 2017. The collection is available online in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2
Join us on Facebook
Post your Flow Vis web finds for others to enjoy: Flow Vis Facebook Group.
Course in Spring 2018
Seats are still available for the Flow Vis course in Spring 2018. It will meet 11-12 MWF in ITLL 1B50. Six sections are cross listed: MCEN 4151/5151, ATLS 4151/5151, ARTF 4200 and FILM 5200. See Course Info for more.
Videos on Vimeo
Try it yourself!
Here are two modules developed for middle schools:
Floating and Falling Flows illustrates some physics of buoyant plumes
The Density Rainbow and the Great Viscosity Race illustrate the fluid properties of density and viscosity.
Comments on how these experiments worked for you are welcome. Email us.
Use of Website Content
Images and videos from this site are available under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial, No Derivatives license. If you would like access to higher resolution images please contact Prof. Hertzberg. Educators are welcome to use all posted course materials, again with attribution.
Flow Visualization Traveling Show, No Longer Traveling:
Fifteen images are now on permanent public display in the Jennie Smoly
If you would like to host a display of flow vis images for local printing or projection we can arrange access to the collection; contact Prof Hertzberg.
Articles about the course:
“Aesthetics and Expanding Perception in Fluid Physics.” Goodman, Katherine, Jean Hertzberg, and Noah Finkelstein. In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2015. 32614 2015. IEEE, 1–5. Camino Real El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA: IEEE, 2015. doi:10.1109/FIE.2015.7344311.
“Art for the Sake of Improving Attitudes towards Engineering. AC 2012-5064.”. Jean Hertzberg, Bailey Leppek, and Kara Gray. 119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX., 2012.
“Images of Fluid Flow: Art and Physics by Students,”. by Hertzberg, J. and Sweetman, A.Journal of Visualization, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2005)145-152.
A Course in Flow Visualization: the Art and Physics of Fluid Flow, presented at the American Society for Engineering Education 2004 Annual Conference won the “Best Paper” PIC III award at the conference.