Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Joseph Maclennan

Second Advisor

John Cumalat

Third Advisor

Mark Hoefer


Thin, freely-suspended smectic liquid crystal films, due to their layered structure, provide an ideal system with which to study two dimensional (2D) hydrodynamics. We have performed some of the first experimental visualizations of actively-driven 2D flow fields, and compared these flow fields to predictions made by theoretical models. First, an experiment testing the flow field generated by a disk-shaped inclusion moving laterally in a film is described. Then an experiment testing the flow field generated by a thin nozzle injecting fluid at a quick rate into a large reservoir is detailed. Results are consistent with the idea that 2D fluids exhibit strong coupling with surrounding bulk fluid.