Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hidden Right Under Our Noses: Champagne Physics

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature of Science, History of Science

Ed Hessler

--Champagne should be considered a ‘mini’ laboratory for the physics of fluids.”--Physicist Robert Georges (New Scientist; quoted in NatureBriefing June 6 2022)

Both the original research report on shock waves produced when champagne bottles are uncorked, published in Physics of Fluids and a popular account in New Scientist, are behind paywalls but the press release from the American Institute of Physics (AIP) is available. It includes a "time sequence of photographs showing details of a cork expelled from a champagne bottleneck stored at 20 degrees Celsius" (68 Degrees Fahrenheit) in the first millisecond.

In science as knowledge grows and measuring tools have progressed this phrase captures the change that has occurred: "there is much more that comes out of the pop than meets the senses." Further research is planned on the effects of temperature, volume, bottleneck diameter, the physicochemical processes, e.g., "how supersonic flow is affected by ice particle formations caused by the drastic temperature drop as the fizz ejects from the bottle."

Co-author Gerard Liger-Belair (Universite de Reims Champagne-Ardenne) made this remark, "'Who could have imagined he complex and aesthetic phenomenon hidden behind such a common situation experienced by any one of us?'"

The champagne bottle IS a mini-laboratory. There are likely still many scientific problems that appear common. They can be explored scientifically when you have the know how, training and education, understanding of a field, the equipment that allows you to get beyond the constraints of your sense, AND the curiosity to  notice and then to investigate them.

Here is the AIP press release with more details and insights this research may provide..




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