Deceptively Low Tech – Amazingly High Science
Recently, the Qikvin Instagram account of 1250 followers (August, 2017) received a comment by one observer that our QikVin was “Deceptively Low Tech!” The post hit us squarely between the eyes because as we tried to keep the romance of the bottle our wine preservation’s innovation remained hidden by simplicity. In fact, our QikVin has amazing science behind it. Here is some of the science.
Imagine removing the bottom and punt of the bottle. What science is involved in preventing wine from passing right by the moving piston? The pressure between the piston and the bottle wall has to be high enough to prevent wine from passing by the piston. We soon realized that our environment is a low pressure and a low speed environment, unlike almost every other application in industry. It took almost a year to perfect the pressure between piston rings and wall of the bottle AND THEN to develop the friction-free features of our design to allow the piston to move when turned up-side-down. It is both gravity and the weight of the piston which allows your wine to be poured out of the QikVin. How do you preserve that pressure (keeping the wine in the bottle) and secondly, and maintain the right pressure to allow the piston to move freely through the bottle? The design of the o-rings is key. We invented a way for the o-rings to change their shape as the bottle is turned up-side-down. This is interesting physics. Here you need to understand some vacuum theory. When our QikVin is primed and the air is pushed out of the bottle, the piston remains suspended in mid-bottle in a vacuum. If for any reason air returned to the bottle our product would fail. For the QikVin to fail air would need to re-enter the bottle and the air itself, in fact, tries to re-enter the bottle. Since the one-way valve in the shoulders of the QikVin cannot fail (yeah) the only other possible entry of air into the device is at the point of the o-rings. In the upright position the outside air is actually pushing up against the o-rings and in fact are making our seal and pressure against the walls of the bottle greater than when the bottle is turned over to pour. This is key and insures your wine is perfectly safe. The piston will stay suspended in the bottle or days weeks or months. When the bottle is turned over, however, to pour out your wine, the weight of the piston and wine forces open the valve and the piston seals relax against the QikVin bottle walls effectively allowing for less friction during the pour. That is the magic! This whole dynamic reverses when the bottle is then turned upright again. The physics of the QikVin makes the innovation so unique. There is of course more science behind the QikVin (special valves and ID/OD perameters), but I’ll leave that for another post.