Liquid Explosions

When Stanford Digital Repository staff found out someone was depositing research data about using x-ray lasers to explode jets of liquid, I have to admit there was a bit of excitement. Researching explosions (even on a small scale) sounds like an immense amount of fun. But Stanford researcher Claudiu Stan and his colleagues were doing way more important things out at SLAC than just having fun. They were performing serious research into fluid dynamics.

"Our experiments produced movies that revealed several unexpected fluid dynamics phenomena," explained Claudiu, "and we focused on processes that are directly relevant to experiments done at X-ray lasers. Nevertheless, the movies contain further information about new, and potentially interesting, fluid dynamics." Their research was recently published in the journal Nature Physics.

Claudiu and his colleagues suspected that other researchers would be interested in the videos they captured of these explosive phenomena, particularly because of the difficulty involved in obtaining the data. "X-ray lasers can perform only a relatively small number of experiments which nevertheless address many distinct problems in several fields of science. Thus, the experimental investigation of a specific problem might not be possible more frequently than once every couple of years."

Having decided that the images and video should be shared with others, the next question became one of how best to do that. "Experiments done at the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC often produce large amounts of X-ray scattering data, and there are specialized repositories for it, but accessing and using that data requires a high level of expertise."

Because their data came in more accessible image and video formats, they felt these data would be more useful for a wider variety of researchers than are the usual x-ray scattering data. For that reason, they wanted a repository with a broader scope that would be easier for lots of kinds of scientists to discover and access.

"I expected that Stanford had such a repository," said Claudiu, "and I found about SDR quickly using a web search. It was clear from the start that using SDR was the best choice for the scope and the ease of access. While preparing the deposit, I have also found other advantages of SDR: the long-term preservation of data, an intuitive and quick web upload interface, and excellent explanations and support from the SDR team. I’m looking forward to using SDR again for data sets that may be relevant to a broad range of scientists."

And we're looking forward to seeing what Claudiu produces next!

View this research at

This Data Story was written by Amy Hodge.

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