Sinking bubbles in stout beers

William Lee, S. Kaar, S. B. G. O'Brien

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A surprising phenomenon witnessed by many is the sinking bubbles seen in a settling pint of stout beer. Bubbles are less dense than the surrounding fluid so how does this happen? Previous work has shown that the explanation lies in a circulation of fluid promoted by the tilted sides of the glass. However, this work has relied heavily on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Here, we show that the phenomenon of sinking bubbles can be predicted using a simple analytic model. To make the model analytically tractable, we work in the limit of small bubbles and consider a simplified geometry. The model confirms both the existence of sinking bubbles and the previously proposed mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number250
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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