Leif Ristroph on Science Friday, July 6, 2015

Professor Leif Ristroph's research on object dissolution in fluid flows is highlighted in a piece on Science Friday. Building on earlier studies of eroding clay surfaces, this new work from the Applied Math Lab uses candy objects immersed in water currents to show how flows speed up dissolving. The researchers discovered that the same final ‘sculpture’ is unveiled regardless of the initial shape and imposed flow speed, and these observations led to a mathematical law for the rate of dissolving. Much more than a curiosity, understanding how materials dissolve can help make sense of geological features and can be put to use in chemical and pharmaceutical applications. On a lighter note, the team also recalled the famous childhood question – How many licks does it take to reach the center of a lollipop? – and used their theory to provide an estimate of 1000.

The Lollipop Hypothesis