Science and a better beer head

April 26th, 2007 | Posted by Real Beer

U.S. mathematicians have come up with a formula that predicts how the head on a beer will change after pouring. Details of their work appears in the journal Nature.

The research could have applications in metallurgy, as the BBC explains, but any brewer will tell you there many contributors to pouring and retaining a good head.

Here are the basics from the math guys:

Writing in Nature, Robert MacPherson, from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and David Srolovitz, from Yeshiva University in New York, describe an equation that works in three dimensions, as well as four, five and six dimensions.

“What happens in beer, is the small bubbles shrink, the big bubbles grow,” Professor Srolovitz told BBC News.

“Eventually, the big bubbles pop – although they pop for slightly different reasons. On Earth, there’s gravity and the liquid that’s within the walls tends to drain out back into the beer. The walls get thinner and thinner and eventually they pop.”

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