Scientists discover how to snap spaghetti into two pieces

Girl Breaking Spaghetti
Photo credit: Getty

If you've ever tried to snap spaghetti sticks into two pieces, you'll know it's not easy as it seems, but scientists have finally figured out how to do it. 

It was back in 2005 when French scientists first understood why breaking spaghetti into two pieces is so difficult. When the sticks snap, they flex back in the opposite direction, snapping again, a report by New Scientist explains

With that clarification under their belt, a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded that snapping spaghetti into two pieces is viable, so long as you twist it a certain way, says the report referencing the journal PNAS

In the test, spaghetti sticks were twisted about 360 degrees in a clamp before bringing the two clamps together until the sticks snapped, according to the report. This provided a definitive method for snapping spaghetti sticks into two pieces. 

It turns out twisting the strands of spaghetti prevented them from flexing back as much as they would when untwisted, and the following untwisting motion released some of the stored energy in the sticks, reducing the likelihood of a second break. 

The scientists were able to make these determinations by utilising a high-speed camera that recorded the shattering pasta at a million frames per second. 

If you're wondering why scientists would use their resources to figure out how to snap spaghetti into two pieces, try to think of the bigger picture. The findings can be applied to understanding other materials such as steel rods and how they can fracture under stress. 

"We work on a lot of things here," said the project's lead scientist Jörn Dunkel. 

"Ten percent of them should be fun."


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