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On the note emitted from a mug while mixing instant coffee

  • W. E. Farrell (a1), D. P. McKenzie (a1) and R. L. Parker (a1)


We have recently observed a curious phenomenon, undoubtedly well known, while mixing instant coffee in a mug. If the bottom of the mug was tapped repeatedly with the spoon as the powder was stirred into the water, the note emitted could be heard to rise in pitch by over an octave. This rise occurred in a matter of seconds, about the same time as it took the mug to heat up. Further experimentation showed that almost any powder could produce the effect in cold or hot water, but water alone would not. Vigorous stirring did not seem essential. A full mug showed as pronounced an effect as a half-filled one.



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(1)Landau, L. D. and Lifshitz, E. M.Theory of elasticity. (Pergamon Press; London, 1959).


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