Oxford scientists crack case of why ketchup splatters from near-empty bottle

Getting those few last dollops of ketchup out of the bottle can lead to unexpected splattering.

Enlarge / Getting these few final dollops of ketchup out of the bottle can result in surprising splattering. (credit score: Getty Photographs)

Ketchup is likely one of the hottest condiments within the US, together with mayonnaise, however getting these few final dollops out of the bottle usually leads to a sudden splattering. “It is annoying, probably embarrassing, and may spoil garments, however can we do something about it?” Callum Cuttle of the College of Oxford mentioned throughout a press convention earlier this week at an American Bodily Society assembly on fluid dynamics in Indianapolis, Indiana. “And extra importantly, can understanding this phenomenon assist us with every other issues in life?”

The reply to each questions, per Cuttle, is a convincing sure. Alongside together with his Oxford colleague, Chris MacMinn, he performed a collection of experiments to determine the forces at play and develop a theoretical mannequin for ketchup splatter. Among the many most fascinating findings: squeezing the bottle extra slowly and doubling the diameter of the nozzle helps forestall splatter. There may be additionally a vital threshold the place the stream of ketchup shifts instantly from not splattering to splattering. A preprint paper has been posted to arXiv and is presently present process peer overview.

Isaac Newton recognized the properties of what he deemed an “perfect liquid.” A type of properties is viscosity, loosely outlined as how a lot friction/resistance there’s to stream in a given substance. The friction arises as a result of a flowing liquid is basically a collection of layers sliding previous each other. The quicker one layer slides over one other, the extra resistance there’s, and the slower one layer slides over one other, the much less resistance there’s.

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