The current stage of “Dispersion of Saccate Pollen” research involves dropping pollen in a wind tunnel and tracking its motion. Its fall characteristics will be compared to those of glass micro spheres. Atomized oil droplets may be used to help track the overall flow pattern in the wind tunnel. A pulsed laser sheet will help capture images of the falling particles fractions of a second apart and Particle Image Velocimetry will be able to calculate motion vectors between the frames.
Prior to this, we dropped models of pollen in Glycerin. Because Glycerin’s viscosity varies significantly with temperature (think honey, or molasses), it would give us data at different Reynolds Numbers. From that, drag coefficients can be found. The hope is that we can support the claim that the geometry of pollen perhaps allows it to almost ‘parachute’ to its destination, allowing it to travel further.