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Thread: Question about tea

  1. #1 Question about tea 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    United Kingdom
    Early afternoon today I was posting a response in the bioligy topic which took quite a while to post and needless to say my tea went cold. I've noticed this for some years and am wondering this:

    Why can you see thin white lines in tea when it has gone cold? Is it the milk separating from the tea'd water due to enthalpy?

    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman
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    Jan 2008
    I am not too sure about this, however I do think that it would be caused by Enthalpy, because the liquid (tea) definitely cooled, causing either an endothermic or exothermic (not sure which) reaction that would minimize at equilibrium (does not matter in this case).
    Since the Milk did separate from the rest of the content of the tea due to the shift in temperature, it is possible that the separation was caused by an (either) endo/exo-thermic reaction.

    Please enlighten me if I am wrong :?

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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor
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    Apr 2007
    In the circuitous haze of my mind

    I would have liked to have seen you make an appointment with a PHd chemist in order to seriously ask him that question.

    Yep, I think your right about that. But does some of the milk go to the bottom of the tea cup? If it does, then it might just be a matter of time before it naturally separates; have you tried keeping the heat on it over a period of time without touching it and seeing what happens? Maybe even, the heat since it is vibrating the molecules microscopically keeps everything mixed together, and when the heat goes away there is no more micro mixing and the two parts have a chance to separate.
    Of all the wonders in the universe, none is likely more fascinating and complicated than human nature.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

    "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence"


    Use your computing strength for science!
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