Why teapots always drip

There is an age-old question: How can the so-called “teapot effect” be explained? Our demonstrative experiments illustrating this phenomenon have been discussed in quiz shows by BBC and Servus TV (available from Germany and Austria).

The “teapot effect” has been threatening spotless white tablecloths for ages: if a liquid is poured out of a teapot too slowly, then the flow of liquid sometimes does not detach itself from the teapot, finding its way into the cup, but dribbles down at the outside of the teapot.

This phenomenon has been studied scientifically for decades – now a research team at TU Wien has succeeded in describing the “teapot effect” completely and in detail with an elaborate theoretical analysis and numerous experiments: An interplay of different forces keeps a tiny amount of liquid directly at the edge, and this is sufficient to redirect the flow of liquid under certain conditions.

News by TU Wien and full movie available on YouTube.