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Scientists capture pitch drop on camera for first time (w/ Video)
Phys.Org ^ | 07-22-2013 | Staff

Posted on 07/22/2013 7:01:13 AM PDT by Red Badger

The Pitch Drop experiment set up in 1944 at Trinity College Dublin's School of Physics is one of the world's oldest continuously running experiments.

The experiment was established to demonstrate that pitch is a material that flows, albeit with an incredibly high viscosity hence extremely slowly. Also known as asphalt or bitumen, pitch appears to be solid at room temperature.

Whilst pitch has been dropping from the funnel in Trinity since 1944, nobody had ever witnessed a drop fall. It happens roughly only once in a decade.

In May of this year, with the latest drop about to fall, Professor Shane Bergin broadcast the experiment via the web. On July 11th, the drop dripped. You can see a time lapse video of this here.

Tracking the evolution of the drop, Professor Denis Weaire and Professor Stefan Hutzler, and David Whyte calculated the viscosity of the pitch to be 2x107 Pa s, approximately 2 million times the viscosity of honey.

Commenting on the significance of the demonstration, Professor Shane Bergin stated: "People love this experiment because it gets to the heart of what good science is all about – curiosity. Over these past few months, there has been constant chat about when the drip would drop. I watched the time lapse video of the pitch drop falling over and over again. I was amazed. This was the first time this phenomenon was ever witnessed!"

The School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin has many old demonstrations and ancient experimental kit. The Pitch Drop experiment was begun when Nobel Prize winner Earnest Walton was head of the department.

The University of Queensland have a similar experiment that was begun in 1927. The Guinness Book of World Records ranks this as the world's longest running experiment. Whilst 8 drops have fallen in this experiment, nobody has ever witnessed one fall.

Whilst it will be roughly another 10 years before the next drop falls, you can look at the live experiment here.



TOPICS: Education; History; Science; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: experiment; pitchdrop; science
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This is the slowest experiment in history. Sorta like watching paint dry, with commentary..........
1 posted on 07/22/2013 7:01:13 AM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

So. Pitch drops.

Who knew?!

Who cares?!

;-)


2 posted on 07/22/2013 7:03:08 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Red Badger
I find watching paint dry to be infinitely more thrilling.
3 posted on 07/22/2013 7:04:14 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (If Obama Had A City It Would Look Like Detroit.)
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To: Red Badger

I want to get a grant to measure the daily growth of Stalactites.


4 posted on 07/22/2013 7:04:21 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Red Badger

2x107 Pa s

Any reason it’s not expressed as 214 Pa s?


5 posted on 07/22/2013 7:06:36 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Red Badger

I’ve heard that glass flows extremely slowly as well.


6 posted on 07/22/2013 7:06:41 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: Red Badger

Thats about the speed they put asphalt down on the roads around here.


7 posted on 07/22/2013 7:08:31 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: DManA
Its physics talk, my man.

Varlets are not supposed to understand.

8 posted on 07/22/2013 7:09:03 AM PDT by B.O. Plenty (Give war a chance........)
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To: fwdude
I’ve heard that glass flows extremely slowly as well.

Indeed it does.

9 posted on 07/22/2013 7:09:24 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Don't tell my mother that I'm an NFA dealer...She still thinks I own a chain of whore houses.)
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To: Red Badger

Watching pitch drop over a decade may seem boring to some but it’s still better television than the coverage of the royal baby.


10 posted on 07/22/2013 7:09:29 AM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: Red Badger

~~~This is the slowest experiment in history.~~~

Not nearly as slow as waiting for O’s paper LFBC to appear in court just ONCE.


11 posted on 07/22/2013 7:09:49 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: fwdude

I thought so, too, but now I’m not so sure:

http://www.glassnotes.com/WindowPanes.html


12 posted on 07/22/2013 7:10:21 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: Red Badger; stylecouncilor; windcliff

It has some value in ascertaining hydrocarbon reservoir dynamics. But the pressures and temperatures therein are going to much higher.


13 posted on 07/22/2013 7:10:26 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: DManA

> 2x107 Pa s
>
> Any reason it’s not expressed as 214 Pa s?

Probably a formatting error and it’s supposed to be 2x10^7.


14 posted on 07/22/2013 7:10:38 AM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Red Badger

A prime opportunity for a government grant for science research. Decades between anything happening = job security.

Kidding of course.


15 posted on 07/22/2013 7:11:03 AM PDT by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: Gay State Conservative
I find watching paint dry to be infinitely more thrilling.

BOTH of these activities are far superior than watching a Soetoro speech on nothingness, filled with a and ahhs.
16 posted on 07/22/2013 7:11:04 AM PDT by Cheerio (Barry Hussein Soetoro-0bama=The Complete Destruction of American Capitalism)
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To: cuban leaf

I call stalagmites.


17 posted on 07/22/2013 7:11:17 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: Red Badger

This is the slowest experiment in history. Sorta like watching our economy grow.


18 posted on 07/22/2013 7:12:38 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: DManA
Because it's 2x107
19 posted on 07/22/2013 7:13:32 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Science is hard. Harder if you're stupid.)
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To: Red Badger

How much was the Government Grant for that Experiment?


20 posted on 07/22/2013 7:14:10 AM PDT by left that other site (You Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free...John 8:32)
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To: Red Badger

In 1927, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia began what’s widely recognized as the longest-running experiment ever, the so-called “pitch drop.” It’s a simple set up: fill a flask with tar pitch and let it ooze out the bottom to see how quickly it flows, and eventually it makes a proper drop that falls down — about once every ten years or so. Tar pitch is a substance that appears to be solid, but in fact is actually a slowly flowing liquid. However, since the beginning of that experiment human eyes have never actually seen the pitch drop from the bottom of the flask — the last time the Queensland experiment dropped, the webcam that was set up to see it failed at precisely the wrong moment.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/20/4539820/after-69-years-pitch-drop-experiment-finally-caught-on-video


21 posted on 07/22/2013 7:14:40 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Ah misprint. Very confusion.


22 posted on 07/22/2013 7:14:59 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

They must mean 2x10^7 Pa s


23 posted on 07/22/2013 7:15:05 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: DManA

More like 20,000,000 Pa S


24 posted on 07/22/2013 7:15:29 AM PDT by catman67
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To: Cheerio

A rare moment of clarity from Letterman (thing of the past) - worth watching for the laughs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThEAO0lt4Dw


25 posted on 07/22/2013 7:16:17 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts; fwdude

Not so fast.....

http://www.glassnotes.com/WindowPanes.html


26 posted on 07/22/2013 7:16:52 AM PDT by mad_as_he$$
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To: DManA

its probably supposed to be 2 time 10 to the 7th power

2 x 10^7

This is yet another example of the phenomenon of media trust... If you KNOW the topic, you can see the media are clueless... which should make you suspect their level of understanding of anythign else they report

If you write software, and you read an article about it often it is is ridiculously lame. This is true if you are a roofer and you read an article about roofing, or a painter, or an engineer, etc. etc.


27 posted on 07/22/2013 7:17:57 AM PDT by Mr. K (There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and democrat talking points.)
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To: catman67; EEGator

Thanks. I presume that’s Pascal-Seconds


28 posted on 07/22/2013 7:17:58 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Mr. K

So true.

I have no experience with Pa S so 1 Pa S or 2 billion Pa S means the same to me.


29 posted on 07/22/2013 7:19:18 AM PDT by DManA
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To: EEGator

bowel movement


30 posted on 07/22/2013 7:19:26 AM PDT by stickywillie (how come there are no father-in-law jokes?)
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To: Alter Kaker

You’ve got that right! The incessant speculation about the speed of dropping of a royal spawn makes watching pitch drop all the more appealing. It only happens about every 10 years so I can ignore it for long periods.

What has the British royal spawn to do with the real world? Nothing, nothing and....NOTHING!


31 posted on 07/22/2013 7:21:08 AM PDT by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: DManA
It's probably supposed to be 2 x 107Pa s. Superscripts often get demoted when HTML is copied
32 posted on 07/22/2013 7:21:33 AM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: Mr. K

I have no doubt the author and his editor (if he has one) have no inkling how to use scientific notation.


33 posted on 07/22/2013 7:21:54 AM PDT by DManA
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To: reg45

I went to the site, it’s like that there too.


34 posted on 07/22/2013 7:22:24 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

That’s correct.

I should have read all the comments first, as others had already posted what I did. Sorry for the redundancy.


35 posted on 07/22/2013 7:24:29 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: stickywillie

Maybe if you eat a pound of cheese. :)


36 posted on 07/22/2013 7:25:09 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: Alter Kaker
Watching pitch drop over a decade may seem boring to some but it’s still better television than the coverage of the royal baby

AGREE!!

37 posted on 07/22/2013 7:25:18 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: Red Badger

What if someone walked by and accidently bumped the table?


38 posted on 07/22/2013 7:25:33 AM PDT by Patriot95
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To: B.O. Plenty

LOL!!!

Like another language, it is indeed.

*One I cannot speak mind you ; } but our eldest does - fluently :)

Thank You Lord, for blessings without number.
Tatt


39 posted on 07/22/2013 7:27:28 AM PDT by thesearethetimes... ("Courage, is fear that has said its prayers." Dorothy Bernard)
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To: Red Badger

Anyone needing an experiment to know that pitch is not a solid and will flow is an idiot. Hence, a college did this.


40 posted on 07/22/2013 7:29:19 AM PDT by CodeToad (Liberals are bloodsucking ticks. We need to light the matchstick to burn them off. -786 +969)
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To: Red Badger

Slow pitch softball . . . strike ten.


41 posted on 07/22/2013 7:29:28 AM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: DManA
Any reason it’s not expressed as 214 Pa s?

Because that notation is intended to express "two times ten to the seventh power," or 20,000,000.

42 posted on 07/22/2013 7:30:28 AM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: F15Eagle
Uh,a,uh that is a keeper!!
43 posted on 07/22/2013 7:30:52 AM PDT by Cheerio (Barry Hussein Soetoro-0bama=The Complete Destruction of American Capitalism)
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To: Cheerio

Bet Letterman hates that it is still out there. Obviously, he was stumping for Hillary.


44 posted on 07/22/2013 7:31:46 AM PDT by F15Eagle (1Jn4:15;5:4-5,11-13;Mt27:50-54;Mk15:33-34;Jn3:17-18,6:69,11:25,14:6,20:31;Ro10:8-11;1Tm2:5-6;Ti3:4-7)
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To: fwdude

It does. Buildings several hundred years old with the original glass have windows that are thicker at the bottom than the top.


45 posted on 07/22/2013 7:37:18 AM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead...)
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To: Free Vulcan

Some panes are. Some are thicker on the sides and some are thicker on the top.

It is do to the construction methods of the glass hundreds of years ago, not glass flowing.


46 posted on 07/22/2013 7:40:43 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: driftdiver

...and it seems the same asphalt is repaired year after year. Seems like endless makework programs. Government at work.


47 posted on 07/22/2013 7:41:24 AM PDT by bramps (Sarah Palin got more votes in 2008 than Mitt Romney got in 2012)
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To: cuban leaf

If a pitch drops in the lab and there is nobody there to see it, did it really drop?..............


48 posted on 07/22/2013 7:46:35 AM PDT by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name......Want to have fun? Google your friend's names........)
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To: fwdude

You could get a government grant to ‘study’ it!............for like 1000 years!............


49 posted on 07/22/2013 7:47:54 AM PDT by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name......Want to have fun? Google your friend's names........)
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To: Patriot95

Got to start all over again..............


50 posted on 07/22/2013 7:48:16 AM PDT by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name......Want to have fun? Google your friend's names........)
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