Vortex vs. Whirlpool

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Vortex and Whirlpool is that the Vortex is a term in fluid dynamics and Whirlpool is a body of swirling water

  • Vortex

    In fluid dynamics, a vortex (plural vortices/vortexes) is a region in a fluid in which the flow revolves around an axis line, which may be straight or curved. Vortices form in stirred fluids, and may be observed in smoke rings, whirlpools in the wake of a boat, and the winds surrounding a tropical cyclone, tornado or dust devil.

    Vortices are a major component of turbulent flow. The distribution of velocity, vorticity (the curl of the flow velocity), as well as the concept of circulation are used to characterize vortices. In most vortices, the fluid flow velocity is greatest next to its axis and decreases in inverse proportion to the distance from the axis.

    In the absence of external forces, viscous friction within the fluid tends to organize the flow into a collection of irrotational vortices, possibly superimposed to larger-scale flows, including larger-scale vortices. Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. A moving vortex carries with it some angular and linear momentum, energy, and mass.

  • Whirlpool

    A whirlpool is a body of rotating water produced by opposing currents or a current running into an obstacle. Small whirlpools form when a bath or a sink is draining. More powerful ones in seas or oceans may be termed maelstroms. Vortex is the proper term for a whirlpool that has a downdraft.In narrow ocean straits with fast flowing water, whirlpools are often caused by tides. Many stories tell of ships being sucked into a maelstrom, although only smaller craft are actually in danger. Smaller whirlpools appear at river rapids and can be observed downstream of artificial structures such as weirs and dams. Large cataracts, such as Niagara Falls, produce strong whirlpools.

  • Vortex (noun)

    A whirlwind, whirlpool, or similarly moving matter in the form of a spiral or column.

  • Vortex (noun)

    Anything that involves constant violent or chaotic activity around some centre.

  • Vortex (noun)

    Anything that inevitably draws surrounding things into its current.

  • Vortex (noun)

    A supposed collection of particles of very subtle matter, endowed with a rapid rotary motion around an axis which was also the axis of a sun or planet; part of a Cartesian theory accounting for the formation of the universe, and the movements of the bodies composing it.

  • Vortex (noun)

    Any of numerous species of small Turbellaria belonging to Vortex and allied genera.

  • Whirlpool (noun)

    A swirling body of water.

    “A whirlpool is an instance of a vortex produced by ocean tides, or by a hole underneath where the water would drain out, such as in a bathtub.”

  • Whirlpool (noun)

    A hot tub, jacuzzi.

  • Whirlpool (noun)

    Turmoil, or agitated excitement.

  • Whirlpool (verb)

    To spin or swirl like the water in a whirlpool.

  • Vortex (noun)

    a whirling mass of fluid or air, especially a whirlpool or whirlwind

    “a swirling vortex of emotions”

    “we were caught in a vortex of water”

Oxford Dictionary

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