Image: Flow Visualization - A Course in the Physics and Art of Fluid Flow
Flow Visualization Home Galleries Course Info Links
Saffman-Taylor Instability by Dustin Grace, Marilyn Poon, Jessica Todd and Robert Neilson
Incense Smoke by Paritosh Panchal Needle Wake by Brynne Sutton
Image: Student Quote - I'll never be able to ignore the sky again.
Sanjeev Sharma
Graduate Student
Mechanical Engineering

Flow Visualization

Flow visualization is the process of making the physics of fluid flows (gases, liquids) visible. In this course, we explore a range of techniques for creating images of fluid flows. Our work is motivated not just by the utility and importance of fluid flows, but also by their inherent beauty. The Flow Visualization course is designed for mixed teams of engineering and fine arts photography and video students at the University of Colorado, but anybody who has paid attention to the patterns while stirring milk into coffee or stared at the curl of a rising tendril of smoke has participated in flow visualization, and will understand the purpose of this course. Please explore this site; there are resources for teachers and students of all levels, as well as amazing images that anyone can enjoy
Image: Flow Visualization News and Highlights
The Fall 2015 Flow Vis class has room for more film and photography students. Join us in FILM 4200/ARTF 5200 MWF 11-11:50 in ITLL 1B50.

A MAJOR update to the Flow Vis website is coming soon! It will have all the student work from 2013 and 2014, it will look great on mobile devices, have keyword searches and much more!

Join us on Facebook and post your Flow Vis web finds for others to enjoy: Flow Vis Facebook Group.

Prof. Hertzberg has a beautiful collection of links for professional artists using flow vis: Flow Vis on

We are on High speed video of ferrofluid from the 2011 Team First assignment is included in a recent article, and in a 2011 article on Saffman-Taylor in a Hele Shaw cell from the Get Wet 2 assignment way back in 2003.

Buy Flow Vis Swag!
Flow Vis Cafe Press Store. All proceeds benefit the Flow Vis program. T-shirts, bags, mugs etc. imprinted with images from the class, donated by the authors.

See the Flow Vis video on Youtube! Images collected from 2003 - 2009.

Old and new student videos are being posted on Vimeo too, in the Vimeo Flow Visualization Student Work Channel and anybody can join and add to the Flow Visualization Vimeo Group.

Try it yourself! Here are two modules developed for middle schools:
Floating and Falling Flows illustrates some physics of buoyant plumes
The Density Rainbow and the Great Viscosity Race illustrate the fluid properties of density and viscosity.
Comments on how these experiments worked for you are welcome. Email us.
Flow Visualization Traveling Show:

Fifteen images have been printed and framed for a traveling print show. Curated by Prof. Jean Hertzberg (CU Boulder) and Carla Selby (Tesseract Productions, with support from the Boulder Arts Commission. The show is available for display; contact Prof Hertzberg. You can download a flyer, or preview the show here..
Articles about the course:

"Art for the Sake of Improving Attitudes towards Engineering. AC 2012-5064.". Jean Hertzberg, Bailey Leppek, and Kara Gray. 119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX., 2012.

"Images of Fluid Flow: Art and Physics by Students,". by Hertzberg, J. and Sweetman, A.
Journal of Visualization, Vol. 8, No. 2 (2005)145-152.

A Course in Flow Visualization: the Art and Physics of Fluid Flow, presented at the American Society for Engineering Education 2004 Annual Conference won the "Best Paper" PIC III award at the conference.