Drop of pitch finally caught on film

Begun in 1927 at The University of Queensland, Australia, the pitch-drop experiment is an attempt to prove that pitch (a sticky, black, seemingly solid form of petroleum) is actually just a particularly viscous liquid. It takes years for a drop of pitch to form and, until this week, nobody had ever observed the drops in the act of, well, dropping. The catch: It wasn't the University of Queensland that finally succeeded. Instead, the documentary footage comes from a different (and less famous) pitch-drop experiment at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. You can watch the drop drip in a video at their site.

Notable Replies

  1. Experiment is cute, but unnecessary. X-ray diffraction can instantly distinguish between glasses and crystals. Then again, it's more expensive than a funnel.

  2. Kimmo says:

    Pretty weird to imagine a drip that lands with a 'clink'...

  3. Hmmm. Isn't the observation of a drip forming sufficient to prove super-viscosity? All a drip does is get you a mention on BB.

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