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winemanden

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Researchers at TU Wien solve the mystery of the champagne cork pop

Why do champagne corks pop when they are opened?

A team from the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer at the Vienna University of Technology (TU) has mathematically analysed what happens when champagne corks are popped for the first time. They supplemented their calculations with images from high-speed cameras - and came up with astonishing results.

While the cork flies away at a speed of around 20 metres per second, the escaping gas overtakes the cork and breaks the sound barrier at a speed of around 400 metres per second. At room temperature, this is 340 metres per second. This creates a shock wave, which significantly changes the pressure conditions in front of the mouth of the bottle. The temperature also changes abruptly as the gas expands. In some places, it can cool down to minus 130°C and even tiny dry ice crystals can form from the CO2 in the sparkling wine. "Different temperatures lead to dry ice crystals of different sizes, which scatter light in different ways. This results in differently coloured smoke. In principle, you can tell the sparkling wine temperature from this colour," explains study author Lukas Wagner.

The bang when a bottle of sparkling wine is opened quickly is not only due to the abrupt expansion of the cork, which creates a pressure wave. The shock wave caused by the supersonic gas jet - comparable to the sonic boom of aeroplanes - also contributes to the characteristic sound.

"We didn't initially expect supersonic phenomena to actually occur when a champagne bottle pops," says study author Bernhard Scheichl. "But as our simulations show, this arises naturally from the equations of fluid mechanics, and our results agree ve
ry well with the experiments." 🍾
 
Wine is endlessly fun, it is both hilarious and fascinating to me that the pop is a sonic boom. Add in dry ice 'smoke' and the seemingly mundane act of getting to the goods becomes intriguing.

Thanks for sharing.

I have a bottle in the bar fridge and dinner guests this evening. I am tempted to serve it just so I can geek out on the information and tell a fun story. 😂
 
Did the federal government pay for that study because it sounds about as useful as some they do
My son-in-law is a research microbiologist and the federal govt does not pay directly for research. NIH and NIMH does , but under very, very strict principles such that you are far more likely to find a research project, supported by the chair of the lab faculty dismissed by the agencies as you are with their agreement to fund the work. I wonder, Justatele, if you could provide one example of a research program funded by the "federal government" that is unquestionably viewed by those in the research field as a waste of money and lab resources? I ask that question as a now retired medical sociologist whose early work was paid for by the British Medical Research Council's Institute of Medical Sociology.
 

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