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article imageHow many bubbles in a glass of champagne?

By Tim Sandle     Jan 1, 2015 in Science
Chances are you enjoyed a glass of fizzy wine to celebrate the New Year. The amount of fizz (or effervescence) helps the sensory experience. But just how many bubbles are there? A scientist has the answer.
The bubble estimating scientist is Gérard Liger-Belair, who works at the French Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne. The university is located in Reims, a city, appropriately enough in a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region.
To calculate the approximate number of bubbles per champagne flute, the scientist has examined the various factors that affect the number of bubbles. From this he has estimated how many bubbles are there in a typical glass. Acute readers will note that there is no estimate of the number of bubbles in a bottle; this is because there are none, until the bottle is opened.
The scientist was motivated by comments made by many wine experts that a typical glass of champagne contains 15 million bubbles. He wanted to calculate this with a little more precision.
The factors taken into account were:
Estimating how much dissolved carbon dioxide escapes from a glass without forming bubbles. Understanding how the size of the bubbles changes over time.
The number of tiny gas pockets trapped between particles: bubble nucleation sites.
The pressure of the bottle, at room temperature.
Ascending bubble dynamics.
These factors, linked to the physics of fluids, were put into a theoretical model.
The conclusion, made in the research report, is: “One million bubbles seems to be a reasonable approximation for the whole number of bubbles likely to form if you resist drinking champagne from your flute.”
This is somewhat below the estimates of wine connoisseurs, but still a mighty number of rapidly rising bubbles: enough to give a glass of champagne a delightful blast of fizziness.
The research is of importance to the drinks industry for the proportion of bubbles is important to the look, taste, aroma and mouth feel of champagne, as well as other sparkling wines. Such findings also help with wine stability. This study was part funded by Europôl' Agro Institute.
The fizzy findings have been reported to the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. The paper is titled "How Many Bubbles in Your Glass of Bubbly?"
More about Champagne, fizz, Bubbles, effervescence
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