Physicists have studied shock waves when opening champagne

(ORDO NEWS) — Simulations have shown that the gases escaping when a bottle of champagne is opened travel faster than sound, creating shock waves that stack on top of each other to form Mach disks.

he game of champagne begins with the “birth” – nucleation – of bubbles on a glass wall. Breaking away from this support, they rise to the surface and burst, releasing the gas contained inside and creating sound.

When you open a bottle, everything happens abruptly, in a matter of milliseconds, filling the air with carbon dioxide and impurities that create a recognizable aroma.

Physicists have modeled this process in detail, finding that it is accompanied by the brief appearance of shock waves and Mach disks.

As soon as the cork ceases to contain internal pressure, the flows begin to break out of the neck at supersonic speed, creating shock waves.

This process was modeled by a team of French and Indian physicists led by Gerard Liger-Belair from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.

“Hopefully this will provide some interesting clues for other researchers,” says the scientist. “An ordinary bottle of champagne can be considered as a mini-laboratory.”

Physicists have studied shock waves when opening champagne 2
Opening champagne: footage recorded with a high-speed video camera

Computer simulation showed that everything develops in three stages. At the first, nothing happens: while the cork is firmly seated in the neck, it holds a high pressure that does not allow gases to be released from the liquid. At the second, the cork is removed, and the bubbles rapidly rise to the surface.

In the gap between the cork and the neck, gas flows arise, which escape at speeds exceeding the speed of sound, and create a series of shock waves.

These shock waves then combine with each other to briefly form Mach disks , repeating patterns familiar to many from photographs of running jet engines.

Finally, the speed of the movement of gases drops below the sound one, and the pressure inside the bottle equalizes with atmospheric pressure.


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