INTERACTIVE FIGURE (drag your mouse/finger on the image to rotate)


Visualizing Fluid Instabilities


A web-based, interactive, animated volume rendering showing the formation of a Rayleigh-Taylor instability, which occurs at the interface between two fluids of different densities (colored surface) if the less-dense fluid is accelerated into the more-dense fluid. This instability occurs on Earth during processes as simple as placing water on top of oil, or in Space during processes as complex as driving supernova ejecta into a rapidly decelerating blastwave.

The goal of this research was to develop a way to present complex, time-dependent 3D data in a user-friendly format, which allows the user full control over their viewing experience. Data for the figure was produced using a 3D hydrodynamics simulation. The figure may be paused/slowed using the buttons above and rotated/zoomed in order to more closely inspect features of the instability.


This research is focused on developing a method to present complex, time-dependent 3D data in both personal research websites and online scientific research journals. The figure shown is produced using the X3D file format, which may be submitted to The Astrophysical Journal. Images such as these are much more impactful than static 2D images or basic videos when displaying complex data.