Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mankind Will Benefit from My Vital Discovery...

I own one of the tea strainers shown at right.  It's the best one I've ever owned.  I love the silly thing.

But until this morning, I've had one complaint about it, something I thought was an unavoidable consequence of its construction.

Until this morning, when I made my morning tea, I'd load up my tea strainer, drop it in my cup, and pour boiling water all over it.  The strainer would immediately bob to the surface, and what follows was a 60 second or so battle to get the thing to sink (so my tea could steep!).

This morning, I accidentally forgot to put the strainer in my cup before pouring the hot water in.  So I plunked it in after pouring the water – and it immediately sank to the bottom of the cup.  Of course, I then had to follow up with a series of tests.  Every time, pour first, it sinks; pour after, it floats.  WTF?

I finally figured it out.  When I pour after, water immediate coats the entire metal surface, and the pores of the tea strainer are blocked by stable water films powered by surface tension.  When I pour first and drop the strainer in, the upper pores remain unwetted until after the strainer sinks.  Simple.

There now, doesn't that revelation change your life in a positive way?

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