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Thinner beer bottle has lower heat loss?

  1. Sep 25, 2015 #1
    I was reading an article about how Heineken has replaced its short stubby bottles with the standard American longnecks, with reason:

    In 2013 the company replaced its old stubby bottles with a fashionably long-necked version that supposedly keeps the beer cold longer.


    This seems counterintuitive to me as a longer bottle has a higher surface area, although I suppose that it isn't much, and perhaps a proper CFD analysis could show this. Methinks that Heineken figured out it could source the longneck bottles cheaper and some marketeer just decided to make this reason up.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2015 #2
    Could be. An experiment would be the quickest way to tell.
  4. Sep 27, 2015 #3


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    If you hold the bottle by the neck than there will be less heat transfer to you hands.

  5. Sep 30, 2015 #4
    I didn't consider that the analysis presumed someone holding the bottle. I guess when I drink, I leave it on a table between gulps.
  6. Sep 30, 2015 #5


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    How so?
    The contact surface is going to be based on your hand, not on the bottle shape (since you need to ensure a good grip).
    Seems to me, there won't be any appreciable difference.

    In fact, I think I can pretty trivially demonstrate that the surface contact on a narrow cylinder is pretty close to the surface contact on a fat cylinder.

    I'm with the OP. They made it up.
  7. Sep 30, 2015 #6
    Now this is science we can all get behind.

    Also, heat wouldn't transfer to your hands, it would transfer from your hands. I would think it would have way more to do with the chemistry of the glass and it's insulating properties than it's shape.
  8. Sep 30, 2015 #7


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    Well, sure, but there's no reason to think those things are different between the two designs.

    The reason shape should make a difference is because of surface area between hot and cold areas. More surface area with higher heat flux equals faster transfer.

    It's just that they've got counter-intuitive results.
    For a given volume, a long narrow cylinder has more surface area than a stubby cylinder, and thus the thinner bottle should warm up faster. Yet they claim the thinner bottle warms up slower.
  9. Sep 30, 2015 #8
    I have a question, when a beer warms up, what's the actual heat sink? The air or the table it's on? Hot vs cold in regards to surface area shouldn't matter as much as the surface area of poor vs good insulators. Making a taller thinner bottle increases the surface area touching air, but reduces the amount of surface touching the table. If actually holding it, people tend to hold those fat short bottles by the bottle, exposing your hand, which is also a better conductor than air, where when I hold the taller bottles, I tend to hold onto the neck to prevent my hand from getting cold.

    Floating in space, I agree the higher surface area would cause faster entropy. Sitting on a table or in somebody's hand, I'd expect the opposite results.

    EDIT: I might be wrong about the sitting on the table part, bottles don't have flat bottoms, they only have a small ring that actually touches the surface so I don't know.
  10. Sep 30, 2015 #9
    I feel like this is the correct answer...

    In a perfect space,where air is the only means of heat transfer,the shorter bottle,with less surface area,would be the winner.

    But in a real life scenario, with real life variables,the longer bottle MIGHT stay cooler long enough to finish the beverage,considering that most people grip the neck,thus,lowering the amount of contact time with the liquid itself.

    Of course I could just be blowing hot air (slight pun intended). So anybody wanna correct me,as this is just a theory...haha
  11. Sep 30, 2015 #10


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    I see some logic in that.
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