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Always Spilling Your Coffee? – Read This!

Monday, February 23, 2015

How many times have you taken your morning cup of coffee onto a busy train or bus carriage – only to have it knocked from your clutches by a clumsy fumble with your bag or the boisterous elbow of a fellow commuter?

You are certainly not alone, as this unwanted sloshing of boiling morning Joe is par for the course for many of us all around the world.

But fear not – there is a solution!

According to a group of scientists from the University of New York, drinking a frothy cup of Latte will curtail any nuisance spillages.

The science

This is because adding foam to liquid makes the brew less likely to spill over the side of the cup – as merely a few bubbly layers can dramatically dampen the sloshing motion of any liquid.


The genesis of this discovery occurred when a certain Professor Emilie Dressaire, from New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, ordered a cafe latte at her local high street coffee chain and was subsequently told by a barista that she would probably not need a plastic lid to stop it from spilling on her.

This got the professor contemplating the use of foam as a damping mechanism.

The experiment

During the experiment, the scientists observed two different types of movement: jolting the apparatus with a quick, side-to-side motion and rocking it steadily back and forth.

The scientists, using a high-speed camera, then recorded the resulting waves, finding that just five layers of foam were enough to decrease the height of the waves by a factor of ten.

Not just coffee!

This recent research has further – and perhaps more significant – repercussions than saving unwanted coffee spillages for commuters in need of a morning pick-me-up.

Indeed, this discovery – which was published in the journal Physics of Fluids – may help make the transportation of propellants in rocket engines and liquefied gas in trucks a much safer proposition in future.

Furthermore, the authors involved in this study hope that one day their research may lead to cheap and easy ways to transport large amounts of fluids with minimal to no sloshing.

Over to you

What do you think about these recent findings?

Are you constantly spilling your morning cup of coffee?

Would you consider drinking more Latte in the future?

Remember to get in touch with us here at Cafe2U with your comments and questions – we love hearing from our readers!

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