Space & Innovation

How to Make Bulletproof Custard

Why do some fluids stop flowing when you push them too hard? Tune into tonight's Perimeter Institute public lecture at 7 p.m. here on Seeker!

<p>SKopp/Creative Commons</p>
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If you took physics at college, you'll know that fluid mechanics isn't easy. That's not just because the math is difficult, some of the phenomena surrounding the flow of liquids can be horribly counter-intuitive.

Take a cornstarch/water mix for example. At just the right consistency, if you slowly mix it, it flows with ease; speed up the mixing and it can stop flowing all together. What causes this? And do these strange behaviors have new and unique applications in the real world?

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET you can find out by tuning in here and watching the live-streamed Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics public lecture with Michael Cates, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Cates will dive into the strange world of Discontinuous Shear Thickening (DST) and explain how this quirk of fluid mechanics can cause the catastrophic failure of industrial pumps, to the incredible possibility of applying it in bulletproof vests.