What is a Vortex?

by Watson Factius

A vortex is a spinning, whirling, or twisting mass of fluid (liquid or gas) in which the local pressure and velocity are greatest at the center and decrease steadily toward the outer edge.

The word “vortex” comes from the Latin word vertex, meaning whirlpool. A vortex is created when fluid flows around an obstacle or a body in a rotational motion. The fluid creates a circular flow pattern known as a vortex.

The word is also used to describe the center of this rotating fluid flow. The idea of a vortex has been around since the time of Aristotle and was further developed by Islamic scientists in the Middle Ages. Vortexes were first studied experimentally in the seventeenth century by Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton.

Vortices are a common phenomenon in nature. They occur in fluids of all types, including air, water, plasma, and even solid materials. Most vortices are relatively small and short-lived, but some can be quite large and long-lived.

Examples of large and long-lived vortices include tornadoes, whirlpools, and galaxies.

Watson Factius

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