Battling the shower curtain

The alarm goes off again, yanking you out of an awesome dream and you hop in the shower. There you are scrubbing along, but something keeps infiltrating your personal space, enemy number one: the shower curtain.

It flaps, it gapes, it sticks to your legs and allows cold air to whip around you while you're already soaking wet. Forget shaving your legs ladies, you've got goosebumps the size of Mount Vesuvius.

This annoyance is always amplified by my 2:00am alarm. Can't I just have a nice warm shower to wake me up? Well unfortunately, a weather-type phenomenon is to blame on this one. Essentially, you are creating a super-tiny area of low pressure.

There are at least two theories as to why the dreaded shower curtain gets sucked into the shower, the first is the Bernoulli Effect. This is the same principal that causes lift beneath airplane wings. Basically, the air is moving faster on the shower side of the curtain, causing pressure to drop and creating a bit of a vacuum. Therefore the slightly higher pressure on the other side of the curtain is trying to fill the void and pushes the curtain inwards.

The second factor that causes the dancing shower curtain is called Driven Cavity. It means that although the water droplets are falling due to gravity, they are slowing thanks to aerodynamic drag. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the air has to start moving, creating a circular motion of air particles within the shower that is similar to a mini dust devil.

You can even fact check me on this one! Blow some smoke into a running shower, you will see the smoke swirl in a vortex.

The Buoyancy Theory is another one that could explain why the shower curtain gets sucked inward; it's a similar idea, but deals more with air temperatures. The only solution I know is to get a shower that doesn't need a shower curtain! Best of luck in the battle against the curtain.

Meteorologist Kait Parker
 

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