A string of bubbles

Have you ever noticed champagne bubbles that form as a string right in the middle of the glass and hardly anywhere else? This leads to the very cool pattern you see here:

Screen shot 2015-11-17 at 4.29.46 PM

Astrid and I recently happened to notice how differently bubbles in champagne and in mineral water behaved. In the mineral water, bubbles formed in random spots along the sides of the glass. In the champagne, they mainly formed in the middle; and formed a string of rapidly forming bubbles.

So now I was hoping for a really interesting explanation of why the bubbles behave so differently. They form at different rates, but that makes sense if the partial pressure of CO2 in both drinks is different. After a bit of research on the web it turns out that fancy champagne glasses have tiny scratches right in the center of the glass to serve as condensation nuclei — in other words: to cause exactly what we observed: A nice string of pearls instead of bubbles forming randomly along the sides of the glass. So theoretically, if we had had our mineral water from the same glasses, we would have observed the same thing in mineral water. What a disappointing explanation!

[vimeo 146250051]

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