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The formation process of vortex rings in a viscoelastic liquid is studied experimentally considering a piston-cylinder arrangement. Initially, a vortex ring begins to form as fluid is injected from the cylinder into the tank in a manner similar to that observed for Newtonian liquids. For later times, when the piston ceases its motion, the flow changes dramatically. A secondary vortex with reversed spinning direction appears and grows to be as large in size as the original one. The formation process is studied by contrasting the evolution with that obtained for Newtonian liquids with equivalent Reynolds numbers and stroke ratios. We argue that the reversing flow, or negative vortex, results from the combined action of shear and extension rates produced during the vortex formation, in a process similar to that observed behind ascending bubbles and falling spheres in viscoelastic media.


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