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IYPT 2006 Preparation

Exponential Decay of the Height of Beer Foam

Donggyoon Hong
Korean Minjok Leadership Academy, 1334, Sosa, Anheung, Hoengseong, Gangwondo, S.Korea


When poured, beer usually generates foam because beer contains carbon dioxide. This study concentrates on
the decay of the height of this beer foam; the decay is the form of an exponential decay. The upper part of the
beer foam tends to have bubbles of larger sizes while the lower part of the beer foam tends to have bubbles of
smaller sizes. This is because of difference of initial energy. When the beer is poured into an empty glass, the
beer has to fall a long distance, so the particles have high kinetic energy to collide with each other, and thus
form small bubbles. However, after beer has been poured for some time, the falling beer will be colliding with
soft bubbles. Also the particles will attain low kinetic energy until the moment of collision because they fall a
shorter distance than before, and thus will form large bubbles.
In this study, a 1.2 mega pixel camcorder with 30fps was used to record the decaying process of beer foam.
A measuring cylinder with a funnel was used to regulate the formation of the beer froth. The following are the
major variables: temperature of beer, diameter of the measuring cylinder, type of beer, and initial falling height.
Additionally, the smoothness of the measuring cylinder was changed by adding oil on the wall. Experimental
results show that the decay of the height of the beer foam fits into exponential decay quite well at the first, but
tends to deviate as time passes by.

Keywords: exponential decay, beer foam, bubble