Cork in a Wine Bottle Secret
Save that bottle of wine by pulling the cork out
One of the most difficult and frustrating events of the holidays is winding up with a cork in your wine bottle. A 1974 Cabernet, wasted at the hands of a floating cork. You are now faced with the impossible puzzle – how in the world do you get that cork out of there? The key to salvaging some of that red, red wine is the reduction of friction. And lucky you, we've got just the trick!
- Wine bottle (a clear bottle will work best so you can see what's happening)
- Safety glasses
- If the cork isn't already in your wine bottle, put one in an empty bottle. Practicing the experiment will allow you to be prepared next time.
- If you are using a bottle with wine still in the bottle, you'll want to pour it into a decanter before proceeding. Otherwise, this could get extremely messy.
- With the cork in the wine bottle, use your finger to push one end of your handkerchief into the bottle. Do not put the entire handkerchief into the bottle. Leave enough of the handkerchief above the mouth of the bottle so that you can get a good grip on it.
- Hold the bottle so that the mouth of the bottle is facing the ground. Shake the bottle so that the cork gets into place just above the bottle's neck.
- Pull the handkerchief out of the wine bottle. As you pull the handkerchief, watch as the cork slides out along with it. Now that wasn't so hard!
How does it work?
The cork of the wine bottle is designed so that it won't go into the wine bottle without being forced. The reason it won't go in, is because of friction. The friction between the cork and the bottle must be exceeded by force. To get the cork out of the bottle, the same amount of force must be applied. But, it is impossible to apply that much force from inside the bottle. If the force necessary can't be applied from the inside, the amount of friction has to be reduced. By introducing the handkerchief to the equation, you reduce the friction between the cork and the bottle neck and apply enough force from the pulling motion to remove the cork.
Cork in the Wine Bottle Puzzle
December 29th, 2010
Click the thumbnail below to see the video.
Really reduction in friction?
C - January 4, 2011
Is the explanation for this merely a reduction in friction? Isn't the friction between the handkerchief and the cork actually quite high? Isn't this what allows it to drag the cork out of the bottle?
jeff sowers - December 29, 2010
I can use this in kids church. Thanks for your help.