Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Whirlpool observatory

What does it look like from the bottom?
  (+10, -1)(+10, -1)
(+10, -1)
  [vote for,

I'm sure I'm not the only one intrigued by what the view would be from the bottom of the "eye" of a whirlpool.

This idea requires a large cylindrical tank, and I mean huge. When the ride is switched on, the walls and most of the floor begin to rotate. Drainage near the centre of the tank floor allows water out, to be pumped back in at the periphery of the surface. The water rotates and a whirlpool forms.

When the eye of the whirlpool reaches several feet across (yes, this is a big device), a single paying customer, who hitherto has been staring up through thick glass and blue water, is lifted up several metres on a platform. He stands, alone and windswept, with whirlpool above, beside and below him.

david_scothern, Feb 11 2008

Parabolic shape formed by a liquid surface under rotation. http://en.wikipedia...riolis_effect11.jpg
Don't know why it's labelled "Coriolis". [baconbrain, Feb 11 2008]

Coriolis Lake Coriolis_20Lake_20Power
Power generating whirlpool that people can visit. [marklar, Feb 12 2008]


       I think the observer should start at the other end, and be swept down into the eye. And then safely retrieved in some half-baked fashion.
DrCurry, Feb 11 2008

       Or collected at the bottom and given to charity?
david_scothern, Feb 11 2008

       If the sides and floor of the tank are rotating quickly, the water will form a paraboloid, not a funnel. If you want a whirlpool shape, you need to have the water rotating only very slightly, and draining out a hole in the bottom.
baconbrain, Feb 11 2008

       I've always wondered where the other sock dissapears to...now, after reading this concept, it is all very clear to me.
Blisterbob, Feb 11 2008

       [bacon] Of course, because at the top of the tank, there can be no radial depth to the flow - it'd just slop over the side. I'll reword it to reflect your better grasp of physics.
david_scothern, Feb 11 2008

       //Don't know why it's labelled "Coriolis"// - 'cause that's why most whirlpools the average joe gets to see form, no?   

       Cool idea. [+]
Custardguts, Feb 11 2008

       Oh, yeah...   

       "To the observatory!"   

Custardguts, Feb 11 2008

       ////Don't know why it's labelled "Coriolis"// - 'cause that's why most whirlpools the average joe gets to see form, no? // No.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2008

       No, indeed. (Thanks, [MaxB].)   

       First, the picture in the link is of a non-flowing surface, with nothing moving across it, so Coriolis effects are nowhere in the picture. Centrifugal effects, yes, as it's rotating, but something would have to travel across it to experience Coriolis effects. And, as was said, the picture is not of a whirlpool.   

       Second, most whirlpools don't form from Coriolis effects. Very large scale whirls, such as hurricanes, do get their direction of rotation from the Earth's rotation. Your toilet, on the other hand, is way too small, despite popular belief.   

       The whirl of a whirlpool involves the conservation of angular momentum. The Coriolis effect may be the cause of the original angular momentum, but only in large whirls. The drain at the bottom could better be said to be the cause of the whirl, though there has to be some rotation to start with, or the water would just quietly dribble out.
baconbrain, Feb 11 2008

       Aha - I hadn't followed the link. No, no, it's not coriolis at all. Neither are almost any whirlpools you see. Didn't realise the scale - it's orders of magnitude too low to be important in almost any whirlpol.   

       Sorry 'bout that.
Custardguts, Feb 11 2008

       No problem. It was either explain or go and play video games with the child of the house. She's out of school because of an ice storm, and getting a bit testy at being immobilized. I'm a bit snappish, too, and the power has gone out twice, both times while I was annotating on the HB. If it goes out again, we are going to be hunting each other through the dark, I'm sure.
baconbrain, Feb 12 2008

       nice nice +
pyggy potamus, Feb 12 2008

       I already had this idea (the result rather than the method) but it was a secondary part of the idea (build x to do y, which will look cool so people will go to see it) [link]
marklar, Feb 12 2008

       + cool. I bet washing machine repair men would love this.
xandram, Feb 12 2008

       A version of this could be used to simulate something similar to the Edgar Alan Poe story, "The Descent Into the Maelstrom", although the real "Maelstrom" off the island of Moskoe in the Lofoten islands of Norway is not actually a single stable vortex. [+]
8th of 7, Feb 13 2008

       Searching the web prior to posting this idea, I failed to find an image of a stable vortex of any size. Was I just looking in the wrong place, or are there in fact no super-size whirlpools in the wild?
david_scothern, Feb 13 2008

       // are there in fact no super-size whirlpools in the wild? //   

       No, there aren't. Whirlpools occur in tide races, like Corryvreckan in the Hebrides. Generally the flow is too unstable (because of currets, and the geometry of the channel) to sustain a vortex for more than a few seconds, and they don't get that big - but are still impressive. They're another of those chaos-theory-mandelbrot-set phenomena.
8th of 7, Feb 13 2008


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