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Mine's A Virtual Pint

Mine's A Virtual Pint

By Anne Pawsey

Of all the things you didn’t know you needed, virtual beer is probably pretty high up on the list. The ability to create the perfect virtual head certainly wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Some people, however, think differently…

A team of researchers based in Melbourne have produced software to simulate the beer pouring process. Whilst your average consumer is content for beer to be available from a bar, and tends not to speculate on how exactly it got into the pint glass in front of them, beer is in fact a remarkably complex fluid.

It’s all about the bubbles. Beer researcher, Mahesh Prakash, explains, “As you pour beer into a glass, you see bubbles appearing on what are called nucleation sites, where the glass isn’t quite smooth. The bubbles expand to a certain size then rise up in streams to the surface, where they bump into each other and form a raft of foam that floats on the top.”

Modelling these bubbles is tricky and requires some very clever maths known as smooth particle hydrodynamics. This is easier on a computer and with the new software requires much less effort to get better results than previous programs, making it probably the best virtual beer in the world.

Cheers to Anne!  Check out her page.

Or read more from the Department of Wine and Beer Research:

- Interesting - It's all in the
Obvious - Why beer and saunas don't mix
- News - Pooch booze goes on sale
- Spoof - Beer goggles

Image courtesy of CSIRO

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15 May 2011
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