There is a "net" hidden in whisky droplets. How is it formed?
There is a "net" hidden in whisky droplets. How is it formed?
It's pretty.

there is a beautiful "net" hidden in whisky droplets, but you have to find the right whisky and see it under certain conditions. And you need the help of a microscope.

(the picture is taken with an inverted microscope, and the actual diameter of each part is about 2mm)

the interesting findings in these whisky droplets have been posted once before. These intricate "nets" come from some American whiskies, which have been diluted to a certain extent (up to 20% of alcohol content 25%), and 1 μ L droplets evaporate on the glass sheet. The spontaneous formation of such a reticular structure can then be observed under a microscope.

and just this week, the finding was officially published. In the supplementary material of the paper, the researcher showed a video of the formation process of the "whisky net", which was also filmed beautifully. I made it into a dynamic picture:

the small glowing particles in the wine droplets were added artificially. The use of these fluorescent particles (0.52 μ m in diameter) is to show the convection inside the droplets, which is often used in fluid research. However, by the time the "net" was formed, the droplets had evaporated so much that there was no longer convection.

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before that, convection occurred with evaporation in the same droplet:

the researchers diluted several American bourbon whiskies to varying degrees and put small droplets on the glass sheet to observe how they evaporated. As a result, they found this very interesting phenomenon. When a variety of whiskies are diluted to about 20% alcohol content, some tiny reticular structures appear as they evaporate, and the "net" patterns formed by different wines have their own characteristics. But Scotch Whisky will not have such a structure.

the researchers believe that this net is related to some substances in the wine that are insoluble in water. These whiskies are stored in freshly roasted oak barrels (New Charred Oak Barrels) for aging, and more insoluble substances (such as fatty acids) enter the wine body in the process than using unroasted barrels. When diluted with water, these non-hydrophilic substances gather together to form micelles, which migrate to the surface of the droplets to form thin films. As the evaporated droplets shrink and the liquid flows, the film becomes distorted and eventually forms a "net".

different forms of "nets" may be used as a feature to distinguish different products, but environmental factors such as temperature and humidity also affect the results, and it is unclear whether they can actually become a reliable identification method. It seems that researchers still find it interesting to find interesting phenomena.

A diagram made by the researcher:

original paper: