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Why Does Dry Spaghetti Break Into Three Pieces, Not Two?

Why Does Dry Spaghetti Break Into Three Pieces, Not Two?

Did you ever snap a bunch of dry spaghetti before putting it in the pan? You will see that the small piece of spaghetti flies off here and there in tiny bits. But isn’t it fascinating to see that the spaghetti breaks into pieces of more than two? It has never happened that you will get two pieces. If you have not noticed it before, you must try it once.

What is the reason?

Richard Feynman, a Nobel-winning physicist, said that there is a reason behind this. But he wasn’t alive till the answer to this question was published 17 years after his death. In the two papers that appeared in Physical Review Letters, the French scientists stated that when spaghetti is bent by providing an equal amount of force at every end. It bends until it reaches the maximum point, and after that, it snaps. This is the reason why the pieces will straighten up in the form of a rapid snap-back, sending a burst of flexural waves. As a result, it will break the stick in more than one place.

The process of breaking spaghetti

First, when a force is applied to a piece of spaghetti, it bends, resulting in breaks. Now free the force, which is causing it to bend, and you will see that it straightens out. However, the tension on the spaghetti is released more slowly, and after a point, the spaghetti catches up, and it breaks in seconds.

What MIT researchers want to do?

MIT researchers wanted to know if there is any other method that will break the spaghetti into just two pieces. They used a specifically designed machine to find the answer to this question and see what they found. They slowly bend spaghetti at a certain point, and it broke into two pieces. The research initiated by two talented students Vishal Patil and Ronald Heisser revealed that torsion might help some spaghetti to break while twisting it.

The tests and results!

After a lot of tests, and Patil worked out on a mathematical model determining perfect spaghetti-breaking. When spaghetti is twisted at 270 degrees and after bending spaghetti at 3 mm/ second can break it into two pieces of equal sizes.

Are you willing to try this method? Time for some spaghetti!

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