Science Questions

Does a teaspoon keep champagne fizzy?

Tue, 15th Apr 2014

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Question

Kitty asked:

My dad wanted to know why champagne stays fizzy if you put a teaspoon in the top of the bottle once you take the cork out.

Answer

Rose Champagne BubblesChris -   Weíre almost out of time but weíve got this one here from Kitty.  We can have a sort of show of hands on this Ė does putting a teaspoon in the top of a bottle of champagne stop it going flat?  Who believes that one?

Helen -   I've never come across that actually.  Thatís the first time I've heard that.

Chris -   People say it stops it going flat, but itís not true.  Itís a myth I'm afraid, Kitty.  It doesnít work.

Ramsey -   Yes, the air is still exposed in the champagne.

Chris::  Yeah.  I mean basically, the gas under pressure dissolved can bubble out and escape and the teaspoon does not make any difference.  

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Kitty asked the Naked Scientists: My dad wanted to know why champagne stays fizzy if you put a teaspoon in the top of the bottle once you take the cork out. What do you think? Kitty, Fri, 11th Apr 2014

It's the same thing as putting a screwcap back onto an opened bottle of any other carbonated beverage. If the seal is air-tight, the carbon dioxide has nowhere to go, so the beverage doesn't lose its fizz as quickly (it also depends on how much headspace there is--if half of the beverage is gone, then there is room inside the bottle for carbon dioxide to escape out of the beverage without leaving the bottle). The seal made with a teaspoon is unlikely to be as good as that formed with the original cork, so it will still go flat, just not as quickly.

This, of course, is assuming the neck of the bottle is actually stoppered. Just dangling a teaspoon in the top of the bottle doesn't do anything. chiralSPO, Fri, 11th Apr 2014

"My dad wanted to know why champagne stays fizzy... "
I'd like to know why he thinks it actually does.
Has he checked? Bored chemist, Fri, 11th Apr 2014

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