Laminar Water Jet Explained


[Dave] has put together this laminar water jet, mainly from PVC and drinking straws. There isn’t a project page, but he does go into a little depth explaining how it works. The water enters at the bottom and is slowed down by a series of sponges, then forced through a column of drinking straws. It then pools at the top before being forced through a perfectly smooth and sharp nozzle. We did manage to find this other video, making one for $15 that has a ton of information and links. How long before we see a submission of a complete music synchronized fountain in one of our readers yard?

37 thoughts on “Laminar Water Jet Explained

  1. Let me guess, the video has some commercial music in the background? Youtube just shows me “This video is not available in your country.” when accessing it from Germany.

  2. Whoever recorded that video is terribad at filming. I just want one steady, stable shot of the whole thing. I don’t particularly care for shaky half-frame closeups of some old beardy guy or you playing with the water. Add on the music licensing and this video is completely useless.

  3. and here i was expecting a water jet cutter and was all excited.

    I wonder if you could do something similar to a fan for directed air flow, I bet it would cool computer parts better that way.

  4. great visual effect.!
    i just wonder can this be made more compact without sacrificing the quality of the stream? seems huge.! btw there must be something already in production that can be modified to perform the same task as this 2000-straws+plexi+nozzle.. any ideas?

    also how does the wind affect the stream ??

  5. I’ve wanted to build one of these for years but I just can’t get around to it it seems. I do wonder if there aren’t easier ways to “inject” light than to put an optic fiber in there though.

  6. Really incredible. Having not previously been aware of laminar flow jets, I spent half the video wondering why they were making such a big deal about this tank with a clear plastic hose coming out of the top…

    Surprisingly easy to build too. Shame I can’t think of any use for it right now.

  7. @MS3FGX With a very smooth column of water you can use the “critical angle” to make light bounce around inside the water. If you aim a laser pointer into the stream from behind it, the light will be caught inside the laminar jet and be released wherever the surface of the jet is not perfectly smooth. The addition of particles or bubbles to the jet will make the light scatter, lighting up the jet.

  8. @Osgeld. You are right. I worked for a hire company that specialised in water effects and these jets where one of the things I would have to maintain regularly, keeping the screens as clean as possible to keep the jet perfect. The ones we used had a blade attached to a large stepper motor to cleanly chop the water stream for great jumping jet effects. I was working on a way to miniaturise the jets before I left the company.

  9. Addendum: although I suspect some synced pulsed light another video showed a guy using a ‘tapper’ to create pulses in the beam, a small hammer hits the nozzle plate to create a traveling pulse in the beam, but that of course can also be orchestrated by a controller.

  10. I’ve been looking for this water-thing since I saw it at discovery channel, Thanks!

    One of the fountains of one hotel in Las Vegas have the same system to make the water show every day :)

  11. I’ve been working on this for over a year now, and am getting some where! I started my project blog and have some information on it there, as well as a forum. They are really simple in principle, but can be a bit difficult to fine tune. I’ve been able to get mine to shoot about a 14 ft arc about about 3 ft high. They are almost completely silent, and stunningly beautiful!

  12. Since none else of y’all ingrates is going to say it: Thanks for re-uploading, trc202!

    (And thanks for nothing, google Deutschland, for blocking it in the first place)

  13. I’m thinking coffee stirrers in a similar fashion as the drinking straws; their width to length ratio is smaller, so they should reduce turbulence and produce laminar flow in a shorter/smaller space. Ideally, you should also be able to scale the nozzle to produce a cutting jet, assuming you could do so without introducing further turbulence. I don’t know if commercial waterjet cutter uses laminar jets, but I bet it would produce a smoother, more precise cut.

  14. Great project!

    See, when I see things like this, I immediately think of the Anti-Gravity mechanism that requires rotation of a magnetic fluid. If jets like this could pump streams of magnetic ferro fluid into a coil under vacuum, it should reach the superconductivity necessary to manipulate the gravity field….

    But, maybe it wont work with anything non-water based… Any ideas?

  15. Just wanted to comment on the travelling light through the water.

    This has nothing to do with pulsing light at the exact right timing. Very nice effect though.

    There is no way you could make light pulses travel inside a water beam or any other medium for that matter like this. This would mean that the photons start behave like matter – like the laser guns of Star Wars and Star Trek etc. You can’t do that.

    Water will have to flow, and light will have to be on all the time during the time the light travels through the beam.

    The only way to make this happen is to inject some kind of particles in the beam of water that disrupts the perfect water beam making the light escape from the edges of the beam. OR you can disrupt the beam in some other way like vibrating the nozzle or something with a small hammer like mentioned. Either way you will create interference in the beam so that the light escapes. If the beam is not disrupted, it works as a fibre optic cable, or close to it, containing most of the light all the way.

    Make the beam vibrate, viola, you have a pulse of light. But the beam is lit up all the way, you just dont see it unless you disrupts the laminar flow…

    I think people have tried for ages to make light behave like matter, but I don’t think any have done it yet, and you most certainly can not do it if it’s possible at all, with a home made 200 bucks water fountain :). Unless you live at CERN :P

  16. The technology is already patented, originally being used to channel laser light to cut silicon wafers, whilst cooling at the same time.
    The advantage being no jagged edge damage to the chip,

  17. Now I know this is a stupid question but if the light source was under computer control and there was a light sensor at the end of the flow this thing could be used to transmit data, right?

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