“The noseride is one of surfing’s peak moments: part fluid dynamics, part magic. But how does noseriding actually work?”

Whimsical subject matter and overall tone but there’s actually a pretty satisfying scientific explanation about the mysterious forces behind hanging ten in this little video by the good folks at Patagonia. This fluid dance is one of the most pure maneuvers in all of sport:

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The Coandă effect is a remarkable phenomenon in fluid dynamics where a fluid flow adheres to a curved surface rather than detaching and flowing in a straight line. This effect is a consequence of the balance between pressure and velocity gradients in the fluid.

In traditional fluid dynamics, we expect a fluid stream to follow a predictable path, dictated by factors like viscosity and pressure gradients. However, the Coanda effect challenges these expectations. When a fluid jet encounters a convex surface, the pressure on the outer side of the stream is higher, while the pressure on the inner side is lower. This pressure imbalance causes the jet to divert towards the surface, creating an attachment between the fluid and the solid object. As a result, the fluid flows along the contour of the surface, even if the surface curves away from the original flow direction.

The Coanda effect finds diverse applications across various fields. In aviation, it’s utilized to design aircraft wings and control surfaces that enhance lift and maneuverability. In industrial settings, the effect is harnessed in processes like paint spraying, where it ensures accurate and efficient coating by directing the paint particles along complex shapes. Moreover, the Coanda effect plays a crucial role in the development of certain medical devices, such as inhalers and nebulizers.

Understanding and harnessing the Coanda effect has led to innovations that have transformed industries and technologies. Researchers and engineers continue to explore its intricacies to develop novel applications, making the most of this intriguing phenomenon in fluid dynamics.