Poster Title

Effects of Mash Bill and Age on Self-Assembled Microstructures from Evaporated Drops of Bourbon Whiskey

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Sophomore

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Institution

University of Louisville

KY House District #

38

KY Senate District #

33

Department

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Droplets of diluted bourbon whiskey, when evaporated on a glass substrate, produce a vibrant pattern of self-assembled microstructures, titled “whiskey webs.” Like a fingerprint, each whiskey produces its own web pattern. During evaporation, the diluted American whiskeys (20-25% alcohol-by-volume) produce nanoscale agglomerates which form microwebs at the liquid-air contact surface. The web-like pattern results from the collapse of the microweb layer as well as intrinsic molecular interactions of the whiskey itself. This study focused solely on the effects of mash bill and maturation age on the formation of whiskey webs. Research was conducted on four sets of whiskeys (provided by Dr. Greg Miller, University of California, Davis) with different mash bills. Each set had six samples of different ages, ranging from the initial date the whiskey was made to just under two years later. Images of the diluted drops (25% ABV, 1.0 μL) evaporated on a glass substrate were analyzed to determine the web density of each specimen. Results showed the whiskey web formation was dependent on the age of the sample. Additionally, by cross-examining web density of the four sets it can be shown that mash bill also plays a role in the whiskey web formation.

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Effects of Mash Bill and Age on Self-Assembled Microstructures from Evaporated Drops of Bourbon Whiskey

Droplets of diluted bourbon whiskey, when evaporated on a glass substrate, produce a vibrant pattern of self-assembled microstructures, titled “whiskey webs.” Like a fingerprint, each whiskey produces its own web pattern. During evaporation, the diluted American whiskeys (20-25% alcohol-by-volume) produce nanoscale agglomerates which form microwebs at the liquid-air contact surface. The web-like pattern results from the collapse of the microweb layer as well as intrinsic molecular interactions of the whiskey itself. This study focused solely on the effects of mash bill and maturation age on the formation of whiskey webs. Research was conducted on four sets of whiskeys (provided by Dr. Greg Miller, University of California, Davis) with different mash bills. Each set had six samples of different ages, ranging from the initial date the whiskey was made to just under two years later. Images of the diluted drops (25% ABV, 1.0 μL) evaporated on a glass substrate were analyzed to determine the web density of each specimen. Results showed the whiskey web formation was dependent on the age of the sample. Additionally, by cross-examining web density of the four sets it can be shown that mash bill also plays a role in the whiskey web formation.