Have you ever thrown a handful of raisins into a tub of sparkling water? Or peanuts into beer? It seems like an altogether strange thing to do, but if you’ve tried it, you’ll have seen the way the raisins dance and tumble in the fluid. As it turns out, there’s some really interesting science at play when you dive into the mechanics of it all. [Saverio Spagnolie] did just that, and even went as far as publishing a paper on the topic.
The fundamental mechanism behind the dancing raisins is down to the bubbles in sparkling water. When dropped into the fluid, bubbles form on the raisins and attach to them, giving them additional buoyancy. They then float up, with some of the bubbles shedding or popping on the way, others doing so at the fluid surface. This then causes the raisins to lose buoyancy, rotate, flop around, and generally dance for our amusement.
[Saverio] didn’t just accept things at face value though, and started taking measurements. He used 3D-printed models to examine bubble formation and the forces involved. Along with other scientists, models were developed to explore bubble formation, shedding, and the dynamics of raisin movement. If you don’t have time to dive into the paper, [Saverio] does a great job of explaining it in a Twitter thread (Nitter) in an accessible fashion.
It’s a great example of cheap kitchen science that can teach you all kinds of incredible physics if you just care to look. Video after the break.