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Thread: Exploding Liquor bottle mystery: vapor or gas build up?

  1. #1 Exploding Liquor bottle mystery: vapor or gas build up? 
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    Last night a 1.5 liter bottle of tequila shattered while sitting unattended on my kitchen counter. It shattered with some amount of force and we heard it in the other room. Small glass shards were scattered all over the kitchen. No one was in the room, and there were no heat sources or other discernible catalyst nearby. About 2 hours earlier I had poured the remainder of another tequila bottle (same brand) into the bottle that later shattered. It was a new bottle, and I opened it, topped it up with about 4 ounces of tequila from the other bottle (I filled it almost to the brim) and then capped it. The bottle that shattered was at room temperature (about 72f) and the 4 ounces I added had been chilled in the freezer, although it had been sitting out for about 30 minutes and must have warmed some.What could have possible caused this? All I can figure is some kind of gas or pressure buildup. This is not a joke. I'm genuinely befuddled by this very weird incident. Any thoughts?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Probably when you added the other bottle that liquid was almost frozen and when you topped off the old bottle with that and put the cap back on the almost frozen liquid expanded as it warmed up with no where left to go because you topped it off, then it exploded.


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  4. #3  
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    Tempered glass can shatter for no apparent reason. I don't know if that's the kind of glass it was.

    Spontaneous glass breakage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  5. #4  
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    I think cosmic is right, hydrostatic pressure due to thermal expansion. bottles are not made of tempered glass
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  6. #5  
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    I admit it doesn't seem likely that the bottle was tempered glass, but I'm not buying the thermal expansion explanation. The cold tequila would have been substantially mixed together with the warm tequila before the cap was screwed on, but even if it didn't, the warmer tequila would have cooled down as the cold warmed up, so there wouldn't be much if any net expansion. If you mix 46 ounces of 72 degree tequila with 4 ounces of 32 degree tequila you end up with 50 ounces of 68.8 degree tequila, so the temperature change of the liquid as it sits for the next 2 hours is only going to be about 3 degrees F.
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  7. #6  
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    Some glass types are more prone to breakage from reasons not apparent than others, in my experience. I have always suspected the reason lies in the origin of the glass more than anything else. The bottle-makers must obtain their glass from glass-making concerns, which may or may not include "old glass" in the "new mix". Just a thought. jocular
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