Michelle Dickinson: Explaining The Brazil Nut Effect

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Sun, 25 Apr 2021, 11:28AM
Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Michelle Dickinson: Explaining The Brazil Nut Effect

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Sun, 25 Apr 2021, 11:28AM

This week is all about something known as the Brazil Nut Effect.

Have you ever noticed that the dried fruits or nuts in your breakfast cereal are not evenly spread out inside the box but that some things seem to be at the bottom while others gather at the top?

This is most prominent in a bag of mixed nuts where no matter how you initially place the nuts in the bag, after a bit of movement the heavier and larger Brazil nuts move to the top.

This phenomenon is commonly called the "Brazil nut effect" and the science behind it is surprisingly complex.

Even though scientists don't fully understand how it works, the effect has been used for avalanche airbags to keep skiers on top of the snow during an avalanche.

Scientist Dr Michelle Dickenson joins Francesca Rudkin on The Sunday Session to explain the science behind it all.

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