The effect is achieved by the use of special laminar flow nozzles.
"The spring display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden is
The exhibit combines real and artificial butterflies, topiary swans showing
the art of mosaiculture at its finest, the special fountain technique of
laminar flow, and a very special floral tribute to a Monet painting which is
part of the current Monet exhibit at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art."
Travel Stories from AboutMyTravel.com
"Dave Ayer, Mark Fuller, and Lee Sim, seniors in the Department of
Civil Engineering at the University of Utah in 1976, designed a
fountain nozzle that produced a coherent and laminar stream of water.
The water jet thus produced looks like a glass rod flying through the
air. Similar fountains have been installed in several theme parks,
including Epcot Center.
After working for six years with Walt Disney Imagineering, Fuller
established his own company, WET Design, in Los Angeles, specializing
in the creation of water features. The company has designed fountains
for many locations in the United States and several cities around the
In 1992, Fuller and a co-inventor, Alan Robinson, mounted laminar flow
nozzles on platforms whose angles, with respect to the ground, were
individually controllable (U.S. patent No. 5,115,973). By oscillating
the platforms, laminar streams move through the air in a beautiful
arc-like manner... WET Design also created the sophisticated and
elaborate fountains at the Bellagio hotel, operated by MGM Grand Inc.
in Las Vegas."
Mechanical Engineering Magazine: Engineering Art
"Axisymmetric laminar flow (ALF) devices generate streams of water
with all the water particles having the same flow rate and direction,
much like photons in a laser. They look like glass parabolas of water
that seem to hang in the air. Observers really can't tell the arcs
contain moving water until the flow is switched off. Then they can
watch the well-defined tail of the curve chase the hoop of water back
into the fountain... Mark Fuller, founder of WET Design, studied ALF
and wrote his undergraduate civil-engineering thesis on the subject at
Stanford University. He later went on to feature ALF in Leapfrog, a
fountain he designed while working at Disney's Epcot Center.
'We use traditional pumps to pressurize the water, but then send it
through a series of chambers, straighteners, and baffles to line up
the flow and bring it all to the same speed. Then it leaves the
nozzle,' says Tony Freitas, a WET Design engineer. 'Most streams are
about a half-inch wide and travel 15 ft, reaching about 15 ft high.
And we can do smaller. But it gets more difficult as you make them
Surface tension helps keep them together in an ALF stream. But when a
large stream hits the apex of its arch and accelerates downward,
different parts of the stream begin traveling at different speeds.
This warps and distorts the once coherent flow, breaking it up."
Machine Design Magazine: Making Water Dance
Some interesting information about laminar flow water effects may be
found in the designers' patent, as filed with the United States Patent
Office. Here's an excerpt:
"A water display comprising a source of water under pressure; first
and second laminar flow nozzles disposed at different locations
operatively connected to the source of water, the nozzles each having
an outlet adapted to direct a substantially laminar flow stream toward
the laminar flow stream of the other nozzle to collide therewith for
viewing by observers of the water display, the laminar flow stream of
each nozzle having a predetermined trajectory projected at a
predetermined angular elevation...
Water displays utilizing laminar flow streams to create dynamic
arch-like displays are disclosed. The laminar flow nozzle is mounted
on an assembly for changing the angle and repositioning the laminar
flow nozzle so that the laminar flow stream appears to eminate from a
fixed location at different angles, which allows varying the
characteristics of the display in a dynamic manner. Simultaneous
control of the nozzle position and angle with control of the pressure
of water supplied thereto allows the stream to be varied to create a
dynamic display with the stream returning to a sink region at a fixed
position independent of the height of the water stream."
USPTO Patent Full-Text and Image Database: Patent #5,115,973
Here's the website for WET Design:
Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "bellagio" + "fountain" + "botanical garden"
Google Web Search: "laminar flow" + "bellagio"
Google Web Search: "laminar flow" + "arc OR arch" + "water" + "fountain"
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