# Yes, it's an ad, but...October 29, 2006 1:31 AM   Subscribe

Yes, it's an ad, but... I find this problem fascinating, and am interested in how various people would approach it.
posted by parrot_person (23 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: what is this doing here?

I don't have enough math/physics knowledge to be able to calculate the approximate number of corks that would fit according to the barrel and cork dimensions given on that site.

I would think that many other factors would have to be taken into account, including the exact shape of the corks used and how much space they would have between them when in the barrel, how the corks change after uncorking (the site mentions that they may expand, but how much?) and how much if at all the lower corks will be squished by the corks above them.

I assume the corks were mounded instead of level with the barrel top, though I don't know if the picture on the site is an actual photo of their experiment, or just something PhotoShopped by their ad department.

I would think that even the most exacting mathematical calculations might not yield the answer, since they only give their estimated average cork dimensions and since there may be variables that would matter that weren't specified (humidity, for example?).

It could be approached empirically too of course. It would be a lot of fun to have an "uncorking party", but would cost way more than the \$1000 prize. A smaller-scale experiment (say, filling a one-gallon container) could be done, but I don't think it would be a simple matter of multiplying that result by 16.

Then there would also seem to be the incalculables, such as how exactly the corks happened to balance in this particular instance. I would assume that even given the same exact materials and setting, a slightly different number of corks would fill the barrel each time this experiment was performed.

My guess was 1750, based purely on visualization. You may now all tell me how wrong I am (wouldn't surprise me).
posted by parrot_person at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2006

2? 6? pi?
posted by bob sarabia at 1:33 AM on October 29, 2006

I would've taken this to the green.
posted by knave at 1:37 AM on October 29, 2006

Cork Density: 25% (number pulled out of my ass, but based on its irregular shape I think thats not crazy).

16 gallons = 3696 cubic inches
1 cork = 1.1 cubic inches

840 corks.
posted by SirOmega at 1:44 AM on October 29, 2006

Where's the "this smells fishy" flag?
posted by slater at 1:47 AM on October 29, 2006

Two blue asks in a row. Cute.
posted by delmoi at 1:06 AM on October 29, 2006

Polly want a hammer?
posted by fleacircus at 1:18 AM on October 29, 2006

Is this a plant or am I missing something?
posted by squidfartz at 1:50 AM on October 29, 2006

This would be better off in Ask Metafilter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 AM on October 29, 2006

What's going on? I'll wait for the third blue ask now.
posted by keijo at 2:13 AM on October 29, 2006

um...when did a corkscrew manufacturer get an advertising budget?
posted by sexyrobot at 2:58 AM on October 29, 2006

Sir Omega has the "best answer". However, it all depends on the "cork density" -- what percentage of the barrel is empty space? (and to a lesser extent on "cork swell", how much bigger does a cork get when pulled?)

I'd believe that the cork density is over 50%, perhaps as much as 75%. I'd believe that cork swell is about 10%.

But I'm not going to print my answer. Instead, I'm just sending it in. :-D
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:07 AM on October 29, 2006

Heh
posted by fixedgear at 3:38 AM on October 29, 2006

posted by sgt.serenity at 3:56 AM on October 29, 2006

Whatever the answer, I'm particularly especially surprised or impressed that a corkscrew can pull that many corks. Well made corkscrews last pretty much forever; they're not like cars. I'm using one that must be over 70 years old and my parents have used the same one for 30 years. Neither show any sign of giving up.
posted by rhymer at 4:14 AM on October 29, 2006

um...when did a corkscrew manufacturer get an advertising budget?

Since they started selling corkscrews that cost seventy quid apiece.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:15 AM on October 29, 2006

Well, apparently the rabbit can do a fair bit more than just pull out corkscrews
posted by Flashman at 4:24 AM on October 29, 2006

If I guess correctly, do I win the use of limousine, whenever I need, to drive to cases and also to drive back and forth from Alfred Hitchcock's office?

Signed,

Jupiter Jones
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:35 AM on October 29, 2006

This thread smells of elephant piss.
posted by Joeforking at 5:23 AM on October 29, 2006

I would imagine that contests like "guess the jellybeans" would have some sort of foreign object in the barrel to screw up a mathematical solution.

A basketball in the middle would greatly change the number of corks the barrel will hold.
posted by jsteward at 5:26 AM on October 29, 2006

If I guess correctly, do I win the use of limousine, whenever I need

For two days of twenty-four hours each.

(Whoa. The things you remember after 30 years.)
posted by bink at 6:10 AM on October 29, 2006

Clearly someone needs to write a 3-D engine and fill a barrel model with cork models.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:02 AM on October 29, 2006

clanken speeb
posted by quonsar at 7:08 AM on October 29, 2006

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