Shower curtain rings are one of those ubiquitous items you often end up with more of than you bargained for. Metal ones have some obvious, immediate uses, most often as a makeshift key ring or tag hanger. But those plastic ones? The super-cheap, chintzy numbers you get with those near-disposable plastic curtain liners? What to do with those? Even if you’ve got a fancy, nickel-plated set of rings for your curtain that rolls on bearings, every time you replace your liner you’re likely to find yourself with a set of these simple, plastic clips.
Well, this video’s going to tell you what to do with them. In the meantime, I’d like to tell you something absolutely fascinating about another aspect of your shower experience. We’re all familiar with the “shower curtain effect.” You’re taking a nice, hot, relaxing shower, the steam is rising, and all of a sudden something cold and clammy wraps around your leg like some sort of plastic monster. Why do shower curtains blow in on you?
The answer is surprisingly more complicated than you’d think. The most obvious answer, warm air inside the shower rising out and making room for cold air to rush in under the curtain, is wrong! You’ll definitely feel that cold air as the curtain moves inward, but this phenomenon happens in cold showers, too. It took a physicist, an expert in fluid spray dynamics, to work out the real truth.
The Ig-Nobel Prize-winning research used advanced fluid simulation software to determine that what’s actually happening is that the spray from the showerhead is generating a spinning vortex on the curtain. Like a hurricane on its side. The eye of the “hurricane” is an area of extremely low pressure, causing it to pull against the middle of the curtain and draw the whole thing inward. Other elements of physics explain why the curtain sticks to your leg, but wow, who knew such wild and woolly forces were at work in your morning routine?!