Have you ever seen what happens when you pour beer onto a strongly heated frying pan? Probably not since few people are willing to waste it in such a way. But if you did you might have been surprised at the magical little show that takes place.
In the following video we can see that the beer takes the form of little spheres that seem to float over the surface of the pan. In fact, they are floating as a result of something called the Leidenfrost effect.
In this case the frying pan is heated well above the boiling point of the beer. Because of this a thin layer of vapor is created which lifts the droplet of beer and protects it from boiling away. To determine the temperature needed to create this effect just follow this simple formula.
Of course that only works for a horizontal surface. You might have to make some adjustments for the slightly curved surface of a frying pan. This can be accomplished with other liquids such as water as well. However, the color and foam of beer made it much more visually appealing to play with.
This scientific principle has been used by people dipping their slightly wet fingers into a pot of molten lead. We don’t recommend trying that at home. In fact we don’t even recommend you trying the beer trick at home. Playing with extreme temperatures and liquids can result in nasty accidents.
Actually, you know what? Just forget we showed you this. Look there’s a smug otter!