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Humans are engineered to spill their coffee [Science]
posted June 14 2012 6:20.17 by Giorgos Lazaridis

In Greece, when people spill their coffee it is called "good luck" and that they will shortly get money, something which i can guarantee that never happens unless it is planned from before. As far as science is concerned, a team of mechanical engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, tried to identify why people spill coffee while walking.

So the got a batch of volunteers and gave them a cup of coffee, asking them to walk in a straight line in different speeds. And this is when they came across a curious finding! The motion of the liquid back and forth in regular mug sizes has almost the same natural frequency of the human walking. This means that the liquid motion is amplified with every step because it gets tuned!

- So, the most obvious way to avoid spilling your coffee is to change the mug size into something much narrower. But this would also mean that the mug should be much higher in order to contain the same amount of coffee.
- What the teams suggests is to start walking slowly and build speed smoothly to avoid oscillations.
- What i suggest is that you take your coffee and run! At least this way, the natural frequency will not spill your coffee :) :) :)

Credit: H.C. Mayer and R. Krechetnikov

[Via: Science now]    [Link: Physical Review E]

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  • At 14 June 2012, 12:52:15 user kasbah wrote:   [reply @ kasbah]
    • The best way is actually to not look at the cup at all, ignore what the contents is doing completely, look straight ahead. Trying to compensate for the movement of the liquid actually causes more jerky motion which will actually cause the spillage. Good waiters know this.

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