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Why Do Champagne Corks Go So Far When They Pop?

Have you ever wondered why there's a warning on champagne and sparkling wine bottles cautioning consumers to point the bottle away from people while opening? There's a good reason for that warning. It's the same force that makes a balloon fly all over the room as it expels air -- pressure. Champagne is filled with millions of carbon dioxide bubbles and they are kept under pressure by the tight corking process. In fact, the pressure inside a champagne bottle can be as high as 90 pounds per square inch. That's about three times higher than the pressure inside the average automobile tire, which typically registers 32 to 35 psi.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns consumers that a flying champagne cork can do serious damage if it hits an eye, including rupture of the eye wall, glaucoma, retinal detachment, bleeding, lens dislocation and damage to the bone structure of the eye. A person might even require urgent eye surgery, and a cork in the eye can even lead to blindness. Clearly, champagne bottles should be opened with caution.

Tips on popping the cork safely:

  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the person opening a champagne bottle should hold it at a 45 degree downward angle while taking the plastic cage off the cork.

  • Chilled champagne is less likely to have an unexpected cork release, and bottles should never be shaken before opening.

  • Place a towel over the top of the bottle and twist off the cork, keeping it at a 45 degree angle, and apply downward pressure as the cork comes out of the bottle.

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More Info: Science Daily

Discuss this Article

marie
Post 1

The wire cage that covers the cork has actually its own name. It is called muselet, from French, meaning - to muzzle.

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