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Why It’s Hard To Spill Your Beer

What’s the latest research to come out of Princeton University? No, it doesn’t have to do with curing cancer, shifting the tides of climate change, determining extraterrestrial existence, or any other life-altering course of study you’d expect from the nation’s top institute of higher learning. Instead, it has to do with beer — specifically, why it doesn’t spill as easily as water. That’s right, the world’s greatest minds are busy analyzing slosh factor. LOL.

Princeton’s best fluid physicists teamed up with the French National Center for Scientific Research to build a device for shaking liquid. This contraption created waves — like the kind that happen when you walk glass in hand — and those waves were recorded and analyzed.

The high-tech slosh tester. Image courtesy of The Physics of Fluids Journal.
The high-tech slosh tester. Image courtesy of The Physics of Fluids Journal.

The results? Drinks with foam (ie, beer with head) are harder to spill, because that foam inhibits wave action by 90%.

All kidding aside, the research has big implications for the transportation of hazardous material, like oil. Add some foam to it, and we might see less high-stake spillage.

So there you have it. Princeton researchers saving the planet, one beer study at a time.