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No. 77: Sep-Oct 1991

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Drip, drop, drup, dr**

A dripping faucet is usually conceived as a well-ordered dependable phenomenon. You simple turn the faucet a bit counterclockwise and the drip rate increases. It's so simple.

Surprise! Dripping faucets are chaotic systems, as described in the following Abstract:

"The dripping water faucet is a simple system which is shown in this article to be rich in examples of chaotic behavior. Data were taken for a wide range of drip rates for two different faucet nozzles and plotted as discrete time maps. Different routes to chaos, bifurcation and intermittency, are demonstrated for the different nozzles. Examples of period-1, - 2, -3, and -4 attractors, as well as strange attractors, are presented and correlated to the formation of drops leaving the faucet."

(Dreyer, K., and Hickey, F.R.; "The Route to Chaos in a Dripping Water Faucet," American Journal of Physics, 59:619, 1991.)

Comment. O.K., so faucets dribble a bit.

From Science Frontiers #77, SEP-OCT 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss