Phenomena

Behind the Bubbly

Carbonation and the fizzy bubbles that come with it are surprisingly popular among humans. Through fermentation or artificial introduction, carbon dioxide gas gets dissolved into a liquid under high pressure. Then, when the pressure is released to atmospheric levels, that gas comes out of solution, forming tiny bubbles that eventually grow large enough to rise buoyantly to the surface. There they will either pop – releasing carbon dioxide gas and aromatics – or form a layer of foam – like in beer – that insulates the liquid and makes it harder to spill. (Image credit: D. Cook; see also R. Zenit and J. RodríguezRodríguez; via Jennifer O.)

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