A piece of asphalt has been dripping for almost 100 years, and two professors have died. What does the experiment want to prove?

2021-01-11 | Science Beauty Boy Original |

How difficult is it to see the pitch dripping with your own eyes? This experiment has killed two generations of scientists. It has been carried out for 93 years, and no one has witnessed the pitch dripping process with their own eyes. In 2005, he won the "Immortal Nobel Prize".The current Guinness World Record, the "holder" with the longest experiment duration.

Is bitumen liquid or solid?

Liquid, such as water, is soft because it has fluidity. Solids, such as stones, have a hard surface, and will break into two when thrown hard on the ground. Asphalt at room temperature is hard and fragile in appearance, so is asphalt solid?

Asphalt can be artificially extracted from coking coal and petroleum and formed naturally. In 5000 BC, the ancients had begun to use natural asphalt for waterproofing and bonding purposes. Ancient Egyptian mummies used asphalt for anticorrosion, ancient India used to make vegetable basket waterproof lining,The bonding between the stones of the ancient Babylonian wall was used by China Civilization to make statues, scabbards, and covering objects that needed waterproofing.

Asphalt is now used for paving roads, waterproof coatings, plastics, etc. This comes from the fact that asphalt has a viscosity hundreds of billions of times higher than water. It is an organic liquid produced by living organisms buried deep underground for hundreds of millions of years.Because of its extremely high viscosity, it is also called semi-solid.

A total of nine drops in the asphalt drip experiment were missed by humans

In the mid-nineteenth century, many people believed that asphalt was solid based on its hard surface at room temperature. In 1927, Professor Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland in Australia wanted to use experiments to prove that asphalt is actually liquid, so he created "asphalt""Dripping" experiment, testing the viscosity of asphalt and the flow speed at room temperature, who knows that this experiment has been done for a century, so far only 9 drops have been dropped.

The experiment is not complicated. First heat the asphalt to a state of higher fluidity, then pour it into a funnel with a closed bottom, support it with a bracket, and cover the entire device with a bell to seal it.effect.

The experiment first needs to wait for the asphalt to settle and cool and solidify. This is three years. After solidification, take the bell jar and cut the nozzle under the funnel. If the asphalt is solid, it’s like putting a stone on the funnel.There will be no change. If the asphalt is liquid, it has fluidity, then it will not be able to maintain its shape. It will change with the container and flow down the funnel to the beaker below. Eventually the asphalt in the funnel will beNothing left, all flow away.

If time is money, the pitch drip is undoubtedly the most expensive experiment in the world

Asphalt flow rate is slow to "wasteland and old", the first drop of asphalt is 8 years. In 1938, the first drop of asphalt finally "cut off" its connection with the body and fell into the beaker.

Although the process of dropping the asphalt is slow, it is only momentary when it is disconnected from the main body and it falls into the beaker, which means that it looks like a solid ice skewer, but you keep your eyes open in front of it and you don’t eat or sleep.Staring for a few days may not fall, and it is very likely that it will fall as soon as you turn around. It is not easy to wait for that second in 8 years. Professor Parnell did not observe the first drop of pitch.The process of falling.

In 1947, the second drop fell, and Professor Parnell was 60 years old and had no energy and physical strength to keep an eye on the device at all times. He passed away in the second year.

Professor John Mainstone of the University of Queensland took over this job in 1961. He died in 2013 for 50 years. He never saw the pitch drip in his entire life.

In the second year after John Mainstone took office, the fourth drop fell, and he happened to be married for his honeymoon. In 1970, John Mainstone, who had been guarding for several days, was about to fall because of family problems., And he thought it should take another day or two for it to fall, so he went home, but after returning, the fifth drop had already fallen, and the next few times were also missed due to various factors.

Coming in 2000, with the advancement of science and technology, John Mainstone used technology to "stand by and wait for the rabbit". When he found that the asphalt was about to drip, he used an all-weather camera to keep an eye on the experimental device, and then went on a business trip happily.I came back and found that the eighth drop was successfully dropped, but the tragedy was that there was a problem with the camera's storage device and it was not saved to the moment of the drop.

John Mainstone learned a lesson and directly got 3 cameras to "siege" the experimental device. Unfortunately, he passed away a year before the 9th drop fell. Both generations of physicists left with regret., The experiment ushered in the third successor.

The moment the asphalt drops

In 1944, Trinity College in Dublin also conducted the same experiment. As a latecomer, they successfully used high-speed cameras to capture the moment of asphalt dripping in 2013.

In 2014, the University of Queensland will usher in the ninth drop. Seeing that it can be successfully recorded, the third-generation successor found that the beaker below was almost full. In the process of changing the beaker, due to the "long history" of the experimental device, The sealant between the glass cover and the base has failed. When the glass cover was lifted, the base fell due to gravity and tore off the ninth drop that was about to fall. If the two predecessors on the ground knew it, they would have the heart to die again..


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