5 Household Industries Made Possible by Fluid Dynamics Experiments

June 7th marks the 2021 micro Flow and Interfacial Phenomena Conference, which provides a unique opportunity for researchers in interdisciplinary topic areas to exchange ideas and discuss future directions in both fundamental and applied sciences with academic and industrial leaders. This year it is being co-sponsored by Photron and Motion Engineering.

The conference highlights the vast applications of fluid dynamics experiments as well as their deep implications on the public’s everyday life. As such, we’ve put together a list of just a few industries whose success wouldn’t be possible without fluid dynamics or the Photron high speed imaging systems used to capture them:


As it largely exists behind walls and out of sight, most consumers don’t consider the scientific discoveries and modifications made to plumbing beyond its ability to transport water from one location to the next. With each new model of toilet, sink, faucet and more, a myriad of factors can impact the customer’s experience from water pressure to water conservation even to how long a product can go between cleanings. All of this can be measured with Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), which tracks the dynamic movement of a liquid in a given space during use.


Hydrodynamic cavitation occurs within a flowing liquid, creating bubbles as a result of a decrease and subsequent increase in localized pressure. It’s often used to measure pressure changes on gear pumps in cars. Too few bubbles can indicate a highly pressurized system unable to normalize, and too many can cause your pump to suck air and run with unlubricated gears. Either can lead to a broken system and cost a lot of money to fix.


Every time you spray a perfume, a facial mist, or hairspray, the spray nozzle has been tested for atomization. Atomization is the process by which the bulk of the liquid in the product is broken down into small droplets. It’s likely you have experienced inferior and superior atomizing products, all of which have been made possible by experimentation with Photron high speed cameras.


Many consumers have seen flow visualization experiments and don’t even realize it. Most flows are invisible whether they’re water or air, but flow visualization makes flow patterns visible to the naked eye. You’ve likely seen a car commercial showcasing a visible stream of air blowing over the hood, windshield, and down the back of the car. This same technique is used by aviation and automotive engineers to improve the aerodynamics of a plane/car, which leads to increased safety and decreased fuel (and thereby ticket/vehicle) costs.

Air Conditioning

Have you ever considered how a small window unit can keep your home so comfortable on a balmy day in June? It’s all thanks to micro heat exchangers. A fluid flows through a coiled tube to the compressor, which cools the liquid down until it reaches the inlet of air. The warm air absorbs the cold and leaves behind moisture, which eventually drips out the back of most window units. These dynamic fluids make the round again and again to continually bring more cooling energy to the air in your home.

µFIP 2021 will bring together experts from all of these industries and more to participate in an active platform and identify research needs for this emerging market made possible with Photron high speed imaging solutions. Motion Engineering will be there too in hopes of providing solutions for leaders in fluid dynamics, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.  

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