Emergent thermodynamics in a system of macroscopic, chaotic surface waves
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The properties of conventional materials are inextricably linked with their molecular composition; to make water flow like wine would require changing its molecular identity. To circumvent this restriction, I have contstructed and characterized a two-dimensional metafluid, so-called because its constitutive dynamics are derived not from atoms and molecules but from macroscopic, chaotic surface waves excited on a vertically agitated fluid. Unlike in conventional fluids, the viscosity and temperature of this metafluid are independantly tunable. Despite this unconventional property, our system is surprisingly consistent with equilibrium thermodynamics, despite being constructed from macroscopic, non-equilibrium elements. As a programmable material, our metafluid represents a new platform on which to study complex phenomena such as self-assembly and pattern formation. We demonstrate one such application in our study of short-chain polymer analogs embedded in our system.