Just a stone's throw forms a supersonic jet | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Just a stone's throw forms a supersonic jet

Objects hitting water can move air at the speed of sound

4:18pm, January 15, 2010

A stone hitting a pond can produce a tiny supersonic splash, a new study has found.

Researchers studying the shape of an air cavity made when an object hits a liquid noticed a similarity to the shape of the nozzles that are in supersonic jet engines. Sure enough, air escaping from the cavity can reach supersonic speeds, the team reports in a paper published online January 11 in Physical Review Letters.

After an object such as a stone hits a flat liquid surface, it carves a tube of air through the liquid in its wake, Stephan Gekle of

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content