Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle

Curious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also like the podcast Imagine This, a co-production between ABC KIDS listen and The Conversation, based on Curious Kids.

Why are burps so loud? - Byron, age 6, Sydney.

That’s a great question Byron. Some burps can be really loud, but they can be quiet too. How loud a burp is depends of a few factors, like how much gas is in your stomach to burp up and the structure of your food pipe that the burp travels along before it leaves your mouth. Let’s look at burps in a bit more detail.

What is a burp?

“Burp” is the word that describes the release of gas that builds up in your stomach and food pipe after eating and drinking. The food pipe, also called the gullet, has the scientific name oesophagus. The oesophagus is a muscular tube, about the length of a ruler, that joins the stomach to the back of your throat.

Where does the ‘burp’ noise come from?

If you open your mouth wide in front of a mirror, you can see a flap of tissue hanging down at the back of your throat. This is called the epiglottis. When you swallow, the epiglottis tips back to block off the windpipe that leads down to your lungs and that means the opening to your food pipe is now clear. (The epiglottis is a bit like a traffic controller.)

why are burps so loud? It’s all about the epiglottis and the oesophagus. Shutterstock

The noise made when you burp comes from gas that is trapped in your stomach and upper oesophagus when the food pipe is shut. This gas is under pressure, especially when there is a lot of it. As the pressurised gas flows up the food pipe, over the surface of the upper esophagus and past the epiglottis, it makes the surface of the upper part of your oesophagus rattle and vibrate. It is a bit like windows that rattle during a windy storm. The other factor is that because the oesophagus is long and round, the noise echoes as it travels up the food pipe.

Can you make yourself burp more loudly or quietly?

Take an empty cardboard tube from inside a roll of lunch wrap, or a toilet roll. Put your lips over the end and softly hum. This makes a louder noise compared to when you just hum without the tube, because of the echo. Now do it again, but put a lot of power into your hum. The noise is much louder. Forcing more air into the tube makes a louder echo. This is why bigger burps are noisier.

Whether you can make yourself burp more loudly or softly depends on how big your food pipe is and how much gas you have in there. Windows rattle more during a wild storm compared to when there is a gentle breeze blowing.

If you drink a small glass of soda water then you will only have a small amount of gas from the bubbles of carbon dioxide gas in the soda to burp up, but if you drink a whole can and take lots of gulps so you swallow more air and you can hold on so you burp all the gas out in one go, then you can produce a really loud burp.

Babies have small food pipes and small stomachs and produce burps that are more quiet than burps from children and adults.

Where does the gas come from?

The gas comes from a few different places. It can be from air that you swallow when you eat and drink which ends up in your stomach. Some people swallow more air if they eat too fast or when they drink from a straw. The “fizz” in soft drinks is the gas carbon dioxide and some other gasses are produced in your intestines during digestion.

Hello, curious kids! Have you got a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au

why are burps so loud? CC BY-ND Please tell us your name, age and which city you live in. We won’t be able to answer every question but we will do our best.

Authors: Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle

Read more http://theconversation.com/curious-kids-why-are-burps-so-loud-108988

Writers Wanted

Burnt ancient nutshells reveal the story of climate change at Kakadu — now drier than ever before


My favourite detective: Jules Maigret, the Paris detective with a pipe but no pretense


Auf Wiedersehen, 'Mutti': How Angela Merkel’s centrist politics shaped Germany and Europe


The Conversation


Ray Hadley's interview with Scott Morrison

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.   HADLEY: I was just referring to this story from the Courier Mail, which you’ve probably caught up with today about t...

Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison - avatar Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Tips to find the best plastic manufacturing supplier for your needs

Plastics are very much an important part of all of our lives, but they’re particularly valuable to a wide variety of industries that rely on their production for their operations. The industries, ...

News Co - avatar News Co

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion