Thursday, 29 October 2009
here's my handle, here's my spout....
From celestial teapots to actual teapots......We may be in financial meltdown, with our world wracked by vicious wars and by the advancing ravages of climate change, but scientists have finally come up with the solution to a problem that has troubled people for centuries: why do teapots dribble?
Previous research into this critical field vital for the advancement of human understanding has shown that a number of factors affect the rate of dribble: the radius of curvature of the teapot lip; the speed of the flow; the porous nature of the teapot material. The real answer, the source of the dribble itself, has remained frustratingly elusive.
Now, however, scientists have deduced that the answer lies in the fact that, at low pouring speeds, tea starts to "stick" to the inside of the spout, causing the flow to momentarily stop and then to start again - causing the problematic dribble.
Even better news is that, by reducing the friction between the spout and the fluid, this bothersome dribble can be all but be eradicated.
But how? How can we eliminate this problem that has troubled our brightest minds and blighted the advancement our civilizations for so long? Well, the scientists recommend using the thinnest material possible for the lip of the spout, ideally metal, and applying an "hydrophobic" or water repelling substance to the inside.
This will mean the tea literally glides off the surface and into your cup.
The hydrophobic material they suggest? Butter.
What? You think that we're going to smear the spouts of our teapots with butter? Are you mad?
Ah, it seems the research was carried out at the University of Lyons. Well, who else would you put on the case to solve a problem that has bothered tea drinkers for time immemorial but a nation of coffee drinkers?