Travelers passing through Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s McNamara Terminal are greeted by a very interesting water sculpture in the center of Concourse A. I call it a water sculpture. Others may call it a fountain.
The sculpture consists of a black granite disc 39 feet (11.8 meters) wide that shoots cylindrical jets of water in perfect parabolic arcs. The water jets look like glass rods. The cylinders of water maintain the same diameter from launch to splashdown.
Most fountains produce water jets that diffuse with distance from the nozzle and time in flight. They lose precise definition. The key for this fountain is a specially designed nozzle that generates a laminar or streamline flow rather than the spray typical of most water nozzles.
The simple explanation is this nozzle creates a flow where all particles flow in a line with same velocity. Someone who understands fluid dynamics could provide a better explanation.
This water sculpture was designed by WET Design (Water Entertainment Technologies). One of its founders invented the nozzle that creates the streamline flow.
Take a look at this YouTube video to see the sculpture in action.