Researchers try to open Oreo cookies without dividing the cream
Have you ever opened an Oreo cookie to wonder why the cream only ends up on one of the cookies? For years, the same question has plagued Ph.D. Crystal Owens. candidate in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, so much so that the Ph.D. student has just published a study on oreology.
Oreology, according to the study, is “the study of the flow and fracture of sandwich biscuits.” Owens took on this delicious task to figure out how to split an Oreo cookie evenly using the scientific method, a team of researchers, and a rheometer, an instrument that measures the torque and viscosity of various substances.
owens said Vice in an e-mail that the experience is close to his heart. “I was personally motivated by the desire to solve a challenge that had perplexed me in my childhood: how to open an Oreo and obtain an evenly distributed cream on both wafers?” She also added, “I preferred the taste of the cookies with the cream exposed. If I took a bite of the wafer on its own, it was too dry for me, and if I dipped it in milk, the wafer would fall apart. too fast.”
So to determine if it was possible to divide Oreo cream evenly, Owens and his team used a lab rheometer and invented an “oreometer,” a 3D-printed device “designed for Oreos and round objects. of similar dimensions,” according to the study. After each test lap, the team recorded their findings. And what would testing be without a few variations? Owens and his team tried dipping the cookies in milk, changing the rotation rate of the rheometer, and testing different Oreo flavors and filling amounts.
Unfortunately, all of Owen’s attempts were in vain. According to the scientist, all of her results validated what she saw as a child: “We couldn’t find any tricks to opening our Oreos,” says Owens. “In virtually every possible twist configuration, the cream tends to delaminate from one slice, resulting in a nearly bare slice and one with almost all of the cream. In the event cream ends up on both slices, it tends to split in half so each wafer has a “half moon” of cream rather than a thin layer, so there’s no secret to getting cream evenly all over just by twisting it to open it – you have to manually overwrite it if that’s what you want.”
Although Ownes and his team still can’t figure out how to open an Oreo cookie with equal cream on each wafer, the study is filled with illuminating Oreo cookie facts. For example, the actual cream filling contains no milk at all. According to the study, “[the creme] is actually more of a frosting than a cream like cream cheese or cream fillings in pastries.” The team also found that Oreos suffered “significant structural loss” within one minute of exposure. So all those times when you thought it took forever for the milk to soften your Oreos, you just had to wait a literal minute.
For anyone looking to take on the Oreo-splitting challenge themselves, Owens and his team have shared their 3D print files in hopes that people can make and use the device themselves to try their hand at Oreology. “I hope this study simply inspires people to take puzzles that interest them from the world around them and use science to find the answers,” says Owens.