Cocktail boats: on bugs and beverages

A fleet of cocktail boats (right) in dry dock, being prepared for launch.

A water-walking bug propels itself with a chemically-induced surface tension gradient.

Cocktail boats take their inspiration from water-walking insects that employ Marangoni propulsion. As an emergency escape mechanism, certain water-walking insects propel  themselves across the surface by generating chemically-induced surface-tension gradients (left).

The cocktail boat (right) floats at the surface of one’s drink, propelled forward by the surface stress generated by alcohol leaking out of its trailing edge. Their utility as a drink accessory in high-end restaurants is currently being explored.

See paper: Burton, Cheng, Vega, Andres and Bush (2013)

PRESS:  Prism Magazine , Wired

Below: a cocktail boats sets sail in a Martini glass.