Supersonic Shock Waves Generated From Uncorking a Champagne Bottle

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IMAGE CREDIT: Gérard Liger-Belair

Opening a bottle of champagne traditionally marks the beginning of a festive celebration. Following the delightful pop of the cork, the bubbles released from the air, and finally, a delicate ringing in the tongue.

But there is more to pop than meets the senses, according to French and Indian researchers. In Physics of Fluids, the dynamic simulation of computational fluids reveals the formation, emergence, and disappearance of shock-absorbing patterns as carbon dioxide mixtures explode the bottle in the first millisecond after the cork emerges.

The findings could provide insight into supersonic flow’s complex and short-term behavior in applications ranging from rocket launchers, ballistic missiles, and wind turbines to electric and submarine vehicles. The simulation builds on a 2019 experimental study that showed, for the first time, the formation of panic waves during the cork release.

“We wanted to highlight better the unexpected supersonic flow event that occurred during the ripening of the champagne bottle,” said co-author Robert Georges of the Université de Rennes 1. ” small. “

In the first stage of uncorking, the gas mixture is partially blocked by the cork, preventing the extracted champagne from reaching the speed of sound. But as the cocoon continues to release, the gas mixture rushes faster at higher rates, balancing its pressure with regular and curved waves.

Waves combine to form striking diamonds, ring patterns often seen on rocket exhaust plumes. Bottle symmetry leads to supersonic-shaped expansion. Finally, the pressure is too low to maintain the correct nozzle pressure at speeds above the bottle capacity and the edges of the cork.

“Our paper reveals unexpected and beautiful flow patterns hidden right under our nostrils each time the bubbly bottle closes,” says author Gérard Liger-Belair, of the Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne. “Who could have imagined the intricate and mysterious events behind the ordinary situation that any of us experience?”

Researchers plan to test other parameters, such as temperature, volume, bottle size, and the physicochemical processes associated with the extraction of a bottle of champagne. For example, they are interested in how supersonic flow affects the formation of ice particles caused by a sharp drop in temperature as fizz comes out of a bottle.

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