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Bull and the bubbly… with researchers from the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne

31 January 2014 by A. Alijah, D. A. Bonhommeau, T. Cours, G. Liger-Belair, A. Perret

Dissolved CO2, formed when the sugar ferments in the bottle, is the origin of the bubbles in a glass of champagne… Researchers at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne [1] have been simulating the molecular dynamics of this process, in order to study the diffusion of CO2, continuing the work of Professor Gérard Liger-Belair [2]. The work involves many challenges, and is particularly focused on advancing our understanding of the complex mechanisms responsible for the formation, expansion and role of the bubbles, when it comes to tasting champagne.

Bull’s expertise, and the computing power of GENCI’s CURIE supercomputer, were key ingredients in successfully carrying out these simulations in a matter of hours, rather than the months of computing time they would have taken using a conventional workstation.

It’s not just about champagne. The research could contribute to a better understanding of other situations where dissolved gases are in a metastable state. For example, it might help to explain the phenomena behind the explosive gas discharges from some African lakes laden with high concentrations of dissolved CO2 or CH4: something that it could be vital to predict [3].

[1] “CO2 diffusion in Champagne wines: A molecular dynamics study” A. Perret, D. A. Bonhommeau, G. Liger-Belair, T. Cours and A. Alijah, J. Phys. Chem. B,  in press.
[2] “Recent advances in the science of champagne bubbles” G. Liger-Belair, G. Polidori and P. Jeandet, Chem. Soc. Rev. 37, 2490-2511 (2008).
[3] “Dynamics of CO2-driven lake eruptions” Y.X. Zhang, Nature 379, 57-59 (1996).

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