Image: Flow Visualization - A Course in the Physics and Art of Fluid Flow
Flow Visualization Home Galleries Course Info Links
Clouds represent a fabulous form of flow visualization that is available to everybody, almost every day. Here are a couple of good cloud galleries:
Cloud Appreciation Society: British site for cloud lovers, including a gallery of clouds that look like things.
Here are some resources to help you figure out what the clouds have to say about flow physics.
Inexpensive books on clouds:
Cloudspotter's Guide, by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society (2006). This is a very gentle introduction to cloud physics, with interesting anecdotes about each cloud type.
The Cloud Book by Richard Hamblyn, in association with the Met Office, 2008. A well-illustrated cloud atlas, organized by cloud height
The Book of Clouds by John Day ("Cloudman") 2006. Another well-illustrated cloud atlas, but organized by cloud family (cumulus, stratus etc.)
Book on cloud flow physics: AC No. 00-57 Hazardous Mountain Winds & Their Visual Indicators: This is an FAA book for pilots on mountain area clouds and the winds that they reveal. You can download the whole short book for free.
Cloud Types for Observers: This is a 45 page document from the Met Office (2006), the British weather bureau. This booklet describes how to classify clouds. You can download the whole short book for free.
WeatherSpark shows time graphs of a wide range of weather data for almost any location worldwide. Includes archived data; some cities have data going back to the 1940s, so you can see what the weather was doing when you were born.
Weather Underground for Boulder
This site also has surface weather history back to 1986 for the whole US.
Current Skew T Plot for Denver.  This shows the current temperature profile in the atmosphere. If the temperature (white line on the right) is steeper than the adiabatic cooling line (solid yellow) then the atmosphere is stable.The 6 am Denver sounding will have a timestamp of 1200z, and the 6 pm sounding will have a timestamp of 0000z, with the next day's date. More info on skew-T plots can be found here. If you are really serious, here is a detailed free online course, Skew-T Mastery. Here is a skew-T archive that covers back to 1973. Be sure to choose skew-T plot as output option.
e-Wall, Penn State's Electronic Map Wall. Forecasters synthesize a local forecast from the predictions of several computer models. This site shows the big model predictions, plus a range of other weather data, such as satellite views and upper air plots.
PSD Map Room. More weather data and model predictions, from the NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center, including  polar views.
Satellite images from U Wisconsin, including global montages.
Archives of surface data and satellite images back to Jan 2004, courtesy of U Illinois.
Climate model simulation visualizations from NCAR, including this movie of planet-wide clouds and precipitation for an 'typical' year.
Other Resources
Fluid Physics for Flow Vis is a group library on Zotero that has science references for the most popular types of flows that students create. Anybody can see the citations but you'll have to email me to get access to the actual articles.
Chart of Dimensionless Numbers. Order a free giant poster from Omega (bottom of the list).
The Vizzies Visualization Challenge. NSF, Popular Science magazine's annual visualization contest.
High-speed photography, info, projects and kits.
Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in food coloring. This link lists its density, safety and some other properties.
Rheoscopic (aka kalliroscopic) fluids show the shear field in a flow. Pantene Pro shampoo is an example of a viscous, pearlescent fluid with this property. You can make your own inexpensive fluid using an iridescent art pigment, such as the Pearl Ex 671 Interference Blue pigment, available in art supply stores.
ZeroBlaster: Cool smoke ring toys!
Lava lamp recipes from
Cornstarch holes made by vibrating a mixture of cornstarch and water, a dilatant (shear thickening) fluid.
Running on cornstarch: a couple of guys running across the surface of a 1 m deep pool of cornstarch mix. From a Spanish popular science TV show.
Other Flow Vis Galleries
There are a number of flow visualization galleries, both on the Web, and in other publications. Here is a sampling:
eFluids: A free resource for fluid dynamics and flow engineering, with a large image gallery, and experiments to try.
The Gallery of Fluid Motion, a juried show of flow images held at the annual American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting. Here is a book of images collected from the Gallery over the past 17 years.
Multi-Media Fluid Mechanics CD-ROM: This CD is full of great images and clips, plus intro-level explanations of basic fluids concepts.
An Album of Fluid Motion, Van Dyke's classic book.
Flow Vis Techniques
Here are some reference texts, and a few websites on flow visualization techniques:
Flow Visualization Merzkirch's classic text.
Professional journals and meetings focused on flow visualization:
Journal of Flow Control, Measurement and Visualization. An open access journal with very reasonable page charges. Prof. Hertzberg is the US regional editor.
Artists using fluid physics
Here are a few selected artists. A larger curated collection is available at! Flow Visualization.
Soap film images. By Karl E. Deckart, excellent images and good descriptions of the photographic technique.
Liquid Sculpture: Images of droplets and splashes by Martin Waugh, in the tradition of Worthington and Edgerton.
The Hidden Design Matthew Campbell is a Flow Vis alumnus whose abstract pohotography continues to involve fluid flows
Dye art: Images of dyes in water by Stefan Engstrom.
Smoke: Images of smoke plumes in air by Thomas Herbrich.
Digital fluids The visualization of numerical fluid flow simulations (data visualization) is a whole different direction, but here are some beautiful representations of fluid physics by Mark Stock.