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Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:29 AM

World's oldest and stickiest lab study ready for drop of excitement

Scientist conducting Australian experiment begun in 1927 to calculate viscosity of pitch, the world's stickiest substance, hopes ninth drop of material will fall soon

In terms of output, Queensland University's pitch drop study the world's oldest laboratory experiment has been stunningly low. Only eight drops have emerged from the lump of pitch installed in the university's physics building foyer in 1927. Watching paint dry looks exhilarating by comparison.

But excitement is now rising over the experiment, which was set up to calculate the viscosity of the world's stickiest substance, pitch, which has been found to be at least 230 billion times more viscous than water. According to Professor John Mainstone, who has run the experiment since the 1960s, a ninth drop looks set to emerge from the pitch block in the very near future.

"No one has actually seen a drop emerge, so it is getting quite nervy round here," said Mainstone. "The other eight drops happened while people had their backs turned. For the last drop, in 2000, we had a webcam trained on the experiment, but it broke down in 1988, when the previous drop was about to emerge, I popped out for a coffee and missed it."

http://m.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/apr/27/worlds-oldest-lab-study-excitement

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Reply World's oldest and stickiest lab study ready for drop of excitement (Original post)
jakeXT Apr 2013 OP
Xipe Totec Apr 2013 #1
denbot Apr 2013 #3
Xipe Totec Apr 2013 #4
LineNew Reply !
NV Whino Apr 2013 #2
dipsydoodle Apr 2013 #5

Response to jakeXT (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:02 AM

1. Not quite as exciting as watching grass grow



Ironically, the Spanish word for pitch is brea. As in La Brea Tar Pits, where the dinosaurs ended up.


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Response to Xipe Totec (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:09 AM

3. You mean sabertooth tigers, dire wolfs, giant sloths..

Much younger then dinosaurs by 65 million years.

I use pitches low flow characteristics for two very different hobbies. The first is metal working. I use pitch as a platform for raising a shape from the back side of a sheet of metal, which is called repousse'.

The second takes advantage of pitches slow flow for finishing shaping, and polishing telescope mirrors. These custom made tools are called pitch laps.

Cool stuff.

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Response to denbot (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:22 AM

4. There you go; ruining a beautiful joke with an ugly fact




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Response to jakeXT (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:20 AM

2. !

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Response to jakeXT (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:50 AM

5. I'm reminded of the question.

If a week takes a fortnight how long would it take a flea with clogs on to cross a barrel of treacle.

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