Lorenzian Water Wheel - 05.06

Experience the practice of chaos theory and try to predict the motions of the waterwheel.

The Lorenzian waterwheel is based on the chaos theory. In the heart of the chaos theory lies the belief that small irregularities can lead to large deviations. Lorenzian water wheel illustrates this principle, since tiny interactions of displaced mol-ecules and atoms cause the wheel to move irregularly, and will inevitable create chaos. Because there are holes in all the buckets, water pours into the top of each bucket at a steady rate and removes energy from the system. If the parameters of the wheel are set correctly, the wheel will exhibit chaotic motion: rather than spinning in one direction at a constant speed, the wheel will speed up, slow down, stop, change directions, and oscillate back and forth between combinations of behaviors in an unpredictable manner.

  1. Observe how water pours from the waterspout into the buckets.
  2. Continue to increase the flow, and you’ll see a strange thing happen: the wheel will sud-denly jerk about and revolve in another direction.
  3. Chaos has then taken over!

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