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Why is ketchup so hard to pour? - George Zaidan

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Ever go to pour ketchup on your fries…and nothing comes out? Or the opposite happens, and your plate is suddenly swimming in a sea of red? George Zaidan describes the physics behind this frustrating phenomenon, explaining how ketchup and other non-Newtonian fluids can suddenly transition from solid to liquid and back again.

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Non-Newtonian fluids are all around you. In fact, in a typical day, you probably come across more examples of Non-Newtonian fluids than Newtonian ones (take that, Newton!). Go explore your house and come up with a list of all the non-Newtonian fluids you have. Pay special attention to what’s in the bathroom and in the kitchen (especially the fridge). Then try and categorize the behavior as shear-thinning (like ketchup) or shear-thickening (like Oobleck).
04/08/2014 • 
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