Sometimes scientists focus their gray matter on solving massive problems like creating sources of sustainable energy able to help feed, clothe, and connect humanity for the next 1,000 years or so. Other times, they harness their superior knowledge of chemistry, materials science, and physics to invent a new type of wine bottle that doesn’t drip.
Sure, the first one is the most important but… well, who wouldn’t benefit just a little bit from the second?
Fortunately, that is where Brandeis University biophysicist Daniel Perlman. A research scientist at the university for the past 30 years, Perlman has used some of his extracurricular time to pursue something of a passion project.
“This research project grew out of my love of wine, and my experience of watching red wine bottles stain tablecloths and wooden surfaces,” he told Digital Trends. “I started wondering whether there was a remedy that could be found in the design of the bottle.”
It turned out to be a more complex problem than you might think, which is presumably why no one had previously cracked it without needing an additional add-on to the wine bottle itself.
“It involved thinking about some of the chemical interactions between wine and glass, and analyzing slow-motion video showing the pouring that takes place from a standard wine bottle,” Perlman said. “What wine has a tendency to do is to cling to the glass surface as it leaves the bottle. Particularly if you’re pouring from a full or nearly full bottle, the flow of wine actually hooks backwards, so that when you tilt the bottle upright this backwards flow is what causes the drips that run down the neck. By introducing a channel or groove, which acts a bit like the moat around a castle, we were able to create a barrier that interrupts the tendency of the liquid to flow down underneath the lip.”
Got that? Perlman’s colleagues at Brandeis certainly have, since they’ve rushed to file a patent application and are now in conversations with several wine bottle manufacturers.
“We’ve tested both red and white wines, and both behave in a very similar way — although red wine is the more problematic one in terms of having the ability to stain tablecloths and the like,” Perlman continued. “However, the design is applicable to both, as well as different styles of wine bottle. We originally developed this for bottles with cork closures, but this design could be introduced into a screwtop-style wine bottle neck as well.”
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