For Crystal Owens, who holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the pursuit of equal creme ratios in Oreos – which are prone to splits with an almost creme-free side – is a lifelong dream.
And it wasn’t until recently that she finally had the opportunity to lead researchers to conduct a probabilistic test to achieve this sacred result using a rheometer, an instrument that measures torque and flow rates of different substances.
And tests have shown that even under laboratory conditions, it’s practically impossible to separate two Oreos with equal amounts of creme on both sides, even if it’s done on a scale. no matter how big. Research report has been published in the journal fluid physics, with the introduction of the new term “Oreology” which is defined as “study of the melting and fracture of sandwich biscuits.”
“Personally, I am driven by a desire to tackle a challenge that puzzled me as a child: how to open an Oreo with an even amount of creme on both wafers?” Dr. Owens said in an email. “I love the taste of cookies with exposed creme. If I bite into a single piece of non-creme cake, it’s too dry for me, and if I dip it in milk, the cake breaks too quickly.”
“When I went to MIT, I learned how to use a rheometer in the lab, watching it rotate a sample of liquid between parallel dishes to measure flow.” she continued. “I originally used my rheometer to test the carbon nanotube based ink that I was designing to 3D print flexible electronics. But one day, I realized that I had the tools and knowledge to tackle the Oreo challenge.”
The 3D printing device was created to study how to open Oreos.
Owens and her colleagues took a methodical approach to answering this important question. And they even invented the “Oreometer,” a 3D-printed device specifically designed for Oreos and similarly sized round objects.
After separating the Oreos with the tools, the team visually checked the percentage of creme per plate and recorded the findings. Some variations in the test were also introduced, such as dipping cookies in milk, changing the rotational speed of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors. But despite their best efforts, researchers could not find a solution to the problem that had puzzled Dr. Owen for decades.
“The results confirmed what I saw as a child – we found no trick to open the Oreos.” Owens said. “Essentially of all the possible opening twists, the creme layer tends to separate from one cake plate, resulting in one that is left almost bare and one that has almost all of the creme. Where the creme exists on both cake plates, it tends to split in half so that each has a ‘half moon’ rather than a thin layer. So there’s no secret to getting a uniform creme everywhere just by twisting it open. You’ll have to re-mix it manually if you want uniformity.”
“This surprised me because I imagined that if you rotated the Oreo perfectly, you would get a perfectly divided icing. But that’s clearly not how physics works.” she continued.
And the female doctor was also surprised to learn that the Oreo cake was not filled with cream, but creme. It’s more of a icing than a cream cheese or cream filling in a cake, and it’s actually dairy-free. “However, the rheological properties remain similar for different liquids,” She added.
While the team has now confirmed the elusive nature of Oreos, the new study is full of new revelations about this popular snack and its intriguing properties. Owens and her colleagues first reported that Oreos belong to the so-called “mushy” texture mode.
According to the study, the scientists also calculated the “deterioration in strength of the chocolate sheet over time after the milk has infiltrated the milk,” concluding that the Oreo cake suffered “significant loss of texture” within one year. minutes after contact with milk. These findings present another set of challenges to Owens’ worldview regarding Oreo cookies.
“I used to think that you needed to crush a cookie and wait for it to soak in the milk for the best flavor, but this type of cookie spoils too quickly.” she said. “I used to think that a cookie becoming soft meant it had enough milk, but it turns out that a cookie can still feel ‘dry’ and require more milk because it takes time to break down after wetting. According to another study I found, biscuits take up as much milk as possible in just 5 seconds of soaking, so there’s a ‘sweet spot’ in time before it goes bad.”
Owens hopes her work will get people thinking about the scientific concepts that underlie their snacks and daily enjoyment.
“There are many questions that we were unable to fully answer in our first study, and so we welcome others to contribute their own ideas and experiments.”she concluded. “We are looking at a follow-up study of ice cream. For now, we’ll just keep the Oreos in the break room for ‘taste test’ among other tests, and maybe we’ll come up with a new puzzle to solve.”
Refer to Vice