Measurement of bitumen viscosity in a room-temperature drop experiment: student education, public outreach and modern science in one

QMUL's pitch drop experiment: the view from the bottom camera

Physicists at Queen Mary University of London have set up a new pitch drop experiment for students to explore the difference between solid and liquids.

Known as the ‘world’s longest experiment’, the set up at the University of Queensland was famous for taking ten years for a drop of pitch – a thick, black, sticky material – to fall from a funnel.

Publishing in the journal Physics Education, the design of QMUL’s trial is different to both well-known pitch drop experiments*. It uses different bitumen (the pitch), which is 30 times less viscous than the Queensland experiment, so that the flow can be seen quicker.

Read the full press release at Queen Mary, University of London.

Read the full paper at Physics Education.

Follow-up on the discussion in the NewScientist and Physics World.