Watch: Aerospace Engineer Shows Why You Spill More Coffee than Beer

Why is it harder to spill beer than coffee? It’s all in the foam, shows new research
Watch: Aerospace Engineer Shows Why You Spill More Coffee than Beer

Screencap/2014 Gallery of Fluid Motion - APS-DFD

Watch: Aerospace Engineer Shows Why You Spill More Coffee than Beer

Do you spill more coffee while walking than beer? Most likely, yes.The reason, in the simplest terms, is that all liquids are not carried equal.

Coffee has a greater “slosh” capacity than beer, according to a new study from a team of researchers from New York University and Princeton.

“Using a high-speed camera, a moving stage, and fluid with and without a head of foam, [researchers] studied the waves following a sudden motion,” describes a press release from the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering.

“Their measurements showed that foam indeed reduces the sloshing. But much to their surprise, they also discovered that foam is very efficient at damping waves: just a few layers of bubbles suffice. The efficiency of the foam, they concluded, comes from viscous dissipation. As the waves form and travel, the foam rubs against the walls of the containers. This rubbing costs a lot of energy, which results in damping.”

You can watch a demonstration of the anti-slosh effects of foam in the video clip below, which was first presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics (APS-DFD), held in San Francisco in November 2014.

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.