The Grand Council of the Great and Serious Men of Science recently conducted a survey to determine which unanswered questions of science vexed us most. The results comprised the usual suspects, such as “What is the biological basis for consciousness?” and “Do deeper principles underlie quantum uncertainty and nonlocality?”
However, the most vexing of all was determined to be the following:
“Why must my teapot dribble hot tea all over my knickers?”
Mercifully, a cadre of French scientists say they have discovered the reason behind all the damned teapot dribbling. Their research is being hailed as a breakthrough in fluid dynamics and beverage overage mitigation:
Previous studies have shown that a number of factors effect this process such as the radius of curvature of the teapot lip, the speed of the flow and the “wettability” of the teapot material. But a full understanding of what’s going on has so far eluded scientists.
Now Cyril Duez at the University of Lyon in France and a few amis, have identified the single factor at the heart of the problem and shown how to tackle it. They say that the culprit is a “hydro-capillary” effect that keeps the liquid in contact with the material as it leaves the lip. The previously identified factors all determine the strength of this hydro-cappillary effect.
The way to combat this effect, the scientists have shown, is to endow your teapot with a spout that is both thin and water resistant. This will help maintain detachment betwixt the tea and pot, even if the flow is reduced.
I am especially excited about this research, because it confirms the scientific validity of a new product I am bringing to market later this year. I call it the Pax Arcana Wiener Spout:
Yes, it’s painful, but it will keep the front of your toilet bowl clean regardless of the condition of your personal fluid dynamics.
The Death of the Teapot Effect [Tech Review]