The Pitch Drop Experiment

The Pitch Drop Experiment Another deep time experiment has been going on since 1927. Thomas Parnell set up an experiment to measure the viscosity of pitch, a derivative of tar once used for waterproofing boats. The Pitch Drop Experiment is a glass funnel full of pitch suspended over a beaker. Every nine years or so a drop of pitch falls into the beaker. From the shape of the droplets, it is possible to estimate the viscosity of pitch. The estimate is given in R. Edgeworth, B.J. Dalton and T. Parnell, Eur. J. Phys (1984) 198-200 and the estimated viscosity is 2.3 ± 0.5 × 108 Pa s, about 100 billion times the viscosity of water.

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