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Honeycomb structure of oil due to an electric field

  1. Dec 25, 2015 #1
    Hi, I've been working on a problem for some time now and I can't figure out why exactly this happens, and I've been looking for some insight. The phenomenon can be seen in this video.
    We can see that the oil rearranges itself due to a high-voltage electric field. Thinking about this, my solution was that the oil gets ionised and is then influenced by the el. field to form the seen hexagons. I'm not looking for deriving mathematical proof, I've already set up most of my equations, and due to some thinking I've overthrown my previous explanation. Any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Where is the high voltage applied? Between the needle and the surface? What is the scale (size and voltage)? The rapid evolution looks very surprising.
  4. Dec 25, 2015 #3
    Indeed, one pole is on the needle, the other is on the plate beneath the oil. We are using voltage (DC) in the range of 8kV+. As far as the scale, my experiement had consisted of a 15cm diameter plate and a M6 4 cm long screw, yielding similar results. I cannot say about the size used in the video, seems to be somewhat similar though.
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