Polymer films are used in to make many mass-produced products, such as compact discs. It has been known for some time that the flow rate of liquid polymers can become irregular during the manufacturing process, despite the slow fluid speeds involved. This was surprising because these slow speeds should reduce the effects of inertia, and hence reduce the turbulence.

Researchers thought that by increasing the length of the polymer molecules, they would increase the viscosity of the polymer liquid, which should lead to regular or laminar flow, rather than turbulence. However, the velocity at which turbulent flow occurred became lower, rather than higher as expected. This behaviour appeared to be caused by the elasticity of the polymer chains -- which has now been confirmed by the observation of turbulence in the complete absence of inertial forces in the Weizmann experiments.