Microanalysis Newsletter - December 2014
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2014 - A Year In Reflection
2014 for Microanalysis has been monumental. We have farewelled old friends, welcomed new, flourished in a time of uncertainty and grown stronger and more capable.  Our vision exemplifies all that we do, in our culture, our dedicated team, and you, our loyal clients. 

This is the year where we farewelled one of Microanalysis’s original Directors Laurie Glossop, and more recently and very sadly our highly motivated and talented student Leilah Smith, as she  begins her internships with the big corporations in the city. We enthusiastically welcomed Kai into the team whose amazing organisational skills keeps the lab orderly and efficient, and spent a couple of months with the colourful and bubbly Nicky on reception, as she helped us out in a time of need.

This year we have enjoyed conferences, road trips and visits to remote sites.  Played with our new optical microscope and particle counter, fixed old instruments and launched our informative new website. Oh and don’t forget NATA. How can we forget NATA?  This year we have written our Quality Manual and hundreds of test methods and look forward to leaping into ‘2015 - The year of Accreditation’!

We have also embraced our vision of community enrichment by sponsoring financially (and in-kind) the community organisations Southside Penrhos Wesley Swimming Club, and the WA Special Needs Children’s Christmas Party, and proudly donated three bursaries for students to attend the AXAA conference held in Perth in February.

Rick has been busy writing a chapter on particle characterisation for AusIMM – The Minerals Institute which will be published early next year and Nimue and her team’s Dangerous Goods testing reports were published in the International Maritime Organisations Proceedings pertaining to the classification of Manganese Ore.

Looking forward, 2015 is set to be another prodigious year. Watch this space as we get set to launch new services and capabilities designed to make your life easier, to arm you with vital information and add value to your business.

I wish to sincerely thank you for your business, friendship and loyalty. Without you, we would not be where we are today.

Enjoy a safe and wonderful holiday season and see you in 2015!

Debbie Hughes

The Science Of Beer Tapping
Have you ever been having a chat at a party, when all of a sudden a supposed friend comes up and bangs their bottle of beer on top of yours, causing it to froth up and spill everywhere? Most people know by intuition that the reason this happens is that the shock of hitting the two bottles together causes more bubbles to form. But the exact nature of it wasn’t fully known until a paper appeared in the latest Physical Review Letters journal.
Entitled ‘The Physics of Beer Tapping’, the research was performed by Javier Rodriguez-Rodriguez and Almudena Casado-Chacon from the Fluid Mechanics Group at the Carlos III University in Madrid, and  Daniel Fuster from the Institute Jean le Rond D’Alembert at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris.
In their explanation, they describe three main reaction steps that lead to you either trying to drink the froth really quickly, or spilling beer all over your shirt:
  • Bubble collapse/cavitation stage
  • Diffusion-driven stage
  • Buoyancy-driven stage
 The bubble collapse stage is exactly what it sounds like. The shock waves that are generated from banging bottles bounce back and forth through the liquid, smashing apart any of the bubbles that exist in the liquid. So all the CO2 bubbles get frothed into multiple very tiny bubbles. The authors estimated around one million bubble fragments get created from one bubble as the shockwaves pass through them.
The diffusion-driven stage describes what happens when the bubble fragments are created. Because their surface area-to-volume ratio has grown really large really quickly, all of the CO2 in the local liquid diffuses into the tiny bubbles, increasing their volume dramatically. The bubble fragments will suck all the CO2 in the immediate vicinity until they become buoyant and start rising up towards the neck of the bottle.
This is where the buoyancy-driven stage takes over. As they rise in the bottle, these clouds of fragmented bubbles are able to suck in all the CO2 from the liquid as they pass through it, increasing in size several hundred times over. This behaviour is apparently very similar to the behaviour of flames in microgravity and also some explosions of type 1a supernovae.
Not described in the paper is the resultant combined embarrassment and anger-driven stage, wherein you chase your friend around the backyard. Happy holidays!

Dr Phill English

Give Us Your Feedback
Your feedback is vital to our continuous improvement. Vital to making sure we meet your needs as a client, add value to your business and provide you with the scientific excellence we expect to delivery every job, every time.

We invite you to complete our 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey. Have your say in what we do well and what we need to work on.

Microanalysis 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey

SEM Image of the Month

Tis the season to be jolly, with the smell of fresh pine needles in the air from our Christmas tree. This month's SEM image of the month is of one of the pine needles from our tree.
Image taken by Sandy Lam
Congratulations Ben Hoskins from Oilfield Production Technologies who was the first correct answer (within 30 seconds of the newsletter going out!) to be received by us.  Last month's SEM image was the soldered legs of a microchip - namely the controller chip for a 128MB stick of SD RAM. Nicely spotted Ben. Your Gold Class tickets are on their way.
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