A group of MIT engineers put the popular Oreo cookie through a rigorous test of ingredients to answer why cookie cream sticks to a single cookie when separated.
“A great problem is trying to distribute the cream evenly between two cookies.“It turned out to be really difficult,” Max Fan, a student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, said in a statement.
In search of an answer, the team put the cookies through standard rheology tests in the lab and found that no matter the flavor or the amount of filling, the cream in the middle of the Oreo almost always sticks to the cookie when opened. Only for the oldest cookie boxes, Sometimes the cream is evenly spread between both biscuits.
The researchers also measured the torque required to open the Oreo and found it to be similar to the torque required to operate the knob and about 1/10 of what it takes to open the bottle cap. That is, the force required for each area for the cream to flow or warp is twice that of cream cheese and peanut butter, and roughly the same volume as mozzarella. Judging by the cream’s stress response, the team classifies its texture as “soft” and not crumbly, hard or rubbery.
So, Why does the cookie cream slide to one side instead of dividing it evenly between the sides? The reason for this may be the manufacturing process.
The videos of the manufacturing process show it They place the first cookie, then distribute a ball of cream to that cookie before placing the second cookie on top of it,” says Crystal Owens, a mechanical engineering doctoral student at MIT who studies the properties of complex fluids. “Obviously, this slight delay can make the stick of cream better for the first cookie.”
“When I was little I would try to roll the biscuits to spread the cream evenly between the two parts so that there was a little bit on both halves., which in my opinion tastes much better than having a cookie with a lot of cream and one with almost nothing. It was hard to do when trying to do it manually.”
Group study isn’t just a nice distraction from basic research; It is also an opportunity to make rheology more accessible to others. To this end, the researchers designed the 3D-printed “Oreometer,” a simple device that firmly grips an Oreo cookie and uses pennies and rubber bands to control the torque that gradually turns the cookie to open.
“We’ve learned, unfortunately, that even if you twist an Oreo perfectly, the cream will mostly end up on one of the cookies.“With a thin layer of cream removed, there’s no easy way to get it to spread between the two biscuits,” Owens said.
Scientific research, even at MIT, is driven by curiosity to understand the world around us, When someone sees something strange or unfamiliar and takes the time to think, “I wonder why this is the case,” concludes Crystal Owens, lead author of a study published in Kitchen Flows, a special issue of the journal fluid physics.
*With information from Europa Press.
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