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The Drip Finally Dropped

Science World Report

World's Slowest-Moving Tar Pitch Drop Caught on Camera (Video)

by Catherine Griffin
Jul 19, 2013 09:49 AM EDT

Tar pitch is thick and viscous, appearing to be almost solid as it slowly oozes. About 69 years ago, scientists set up a pitch-drop experiment to test exactly how long it would take for a single piece of the black substance to fall into a beaker. Now the experiment is finally over--the researchers have caught the falling drop on camera.

The Dublin pitch-drop experiment was first set up in 1944 at Trinity College Dublin. The researchers wanted to demonstrate the high viscosity of pitch, a material that appears to be solid at room temperature but is, in fact, just moving extremely slowly. Now, researchers have shown exactly how long it takes for a drop of pitch to fall.

Yet this isn't the only pitch-drop experiment. Another one was set up at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. This better-known experiment experienced a drop in 2000. Unfortunately, the camera was off at the time and it wasn't caught on film.