Exploring the physics of sand drawings: The role of craters, furrows and piles
Few years ago an article addressing the physics behind abstract paintings was published by Herczyński et al. (Phys. Today 64, 31 (2011) issue No. 6). The authors aimed to understand how artists like Jackson Pollock manipulated paints to create pieces of art where the theory of fluid dynamics had a clear and perceivable role. Scaling laws were found to explain the plasticity observed in the artists's traces that we admire in worldwide museums. Because sand drawings are not only wonderful artistic expressions but also intangible cultural heritages of humanity, we wonder if they could be analyzed in a similar fashion. Our goal is to explore the physics behind the formation of such drawings. In order to do so, we carry out experimental studies on the formation of sand cavities, furrows and piles, which individually or interconnected, give rise to artistic patterns. Moreover, in order to manipulate such three observables, some control parameters are needed. Altogether, they conform into simple exponential and power laws that collapse when a scaling is performed.