Coffee Cup Secrets (w/ Video)

July 7, 2010 By Mike Lucibella

Exactly how coffee and cream blend in that jolt of java an extra eye opener for researchers.

Physicists from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and from the University of Bath in the U.K. took a close look downward into their mugs to find out exactly how cream actually blends with the in a cup when stirred.

Using image tracking and infrared cameras, the researchers studied the swirl patterns formed when liquids of varying temperatures -- like cold milk and hot coffee -- are mixed together.

The video will load shortly
Infrared Video Of Swirling Liquid Rings

Alternating rings of the hot and cold liquids briefly form in the center of the container before moving outward toward the rim of the cup. This is the result of the slightly different viscosities of the hot and cold liquids separating out. As the temperature evens out throughout the cup, the rings break down and the mix together.

Explore further: Scientists Make Temperature-Regulating Coffee Mug

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