Home Science Researchers from Stanford solve the mystery of dancing droplets

Researchers from Stanford solve the mystery of dancing droplets


These curiously behaving droplets of water and food coloring. We promise, it’s nowhere near as boring as it sounds. 
Nate Cira, An undergraduate student while working on an his project, experience something
strange. Droplets of water dyed with food coloring were migrating across
surfaces on their own, finding other droplets with matching colors to
join with, and avoiding differently colored droplets.
Cira was joined in his research into the phenomenon by Manu Prakash
and Adrien Benusiglio. The trio studied the process by which the dyed
water seemed to dance in what looked almost like a social scene. The
droplets would approach one another, make contact, or avoid each other
based on the color of their dyes. 

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So were they alive? Did the research team discover racist water?
No. The behavior, they determined was a result of the specific
components of each of the drops. Food dye is made of water and propylene
glycol. The different amounts of propylene glycol gave each color
unique properties and caused the droplets to exhibit different
behaviors. This is known as artificial chemotaxis. (Chemotaxis is when
single cells exhibit what appears to be conscious, social behavior.) 
explanation of the fascinating behavior can be seen in the video below. 
If you’re interested in the more complex concepts of fluid dynamics, you can read Cira, Prakash, and Benusiglio’s study in Nature