Why lattes are less prone to spills than regular coffee | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Mystery Solved

Why lattes are less prone to spills than regular coffee

It’s all in the foam, researchers find

By
8:00am, March 4, 2015
Splashing coffee

SQUASH THE SLOSH  Just a few layers of surface bubbles can save a beverage from splashing all over the kitchen counter. 

Carrying a cup of joe can prove dangerous: Just a small jostle can send hot liquid flying. A latte comes with considerably less risk. Thank the bubbles.

Alban Sauret of the French scientific research center CNRS in Aubervilliers and colleagues report February 24 in Physics of Fluids that bubbles can calm sloshing liquid.

With a high-speed camera, the team recorded oscillations of a mixture of water, glycerol and dish soap inside a rectangular container after they jolted or rocked it. Pumping air into the liquid, the researchers created varied quantities of bubbles. Bubbles form in layers on top of a liquid, and five layers were enough to reduce sloshing as long as the bubbles touched the container’s sides. The researchers think that foam bubbles absorb the energy driving the liquid waves by creating friction at

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content