Why it's a Lot Harder to Spill Beer Than Coffee

By Chris Mills on at

I think it's well known that beer is one of mankind's greatest inventions. But aside from the perfect taste, and ability to make in-laws seem magically more tolerable, it turns out that beer also has its very own built-in anti-spill mechanism.

Scientists from Princeton University noticed that liquids with a foamy top — like latte, or beer — were far less susceptible to sloshing (yes, that's a technical term) than straight-up regular coffee. Being science-y people, they set out to investigate the hypothesis, using a mixture of glycerol and surfactants to create a reliable, measurable foam. They then sloshed glasses of various liquids until liquid escaped, in the process discovering that as little as 3mm of foam on top of a glass is enough to significantly dampen motion, and prevent spillage.

Although this sounds like nothing more than grade-A pub science, it actually has serious benefits: industrial applications with high-pressure liquids, or even cargo ships carrying liquids on an unfriendly sea, can all benefit from the research. Plus, y'know, you're less likely to make a mess on your way back from the bar. [New Scientist via Neatorama]