Cracking Spaghetti In Two? MIT Knows How

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Cracking Spaghetti In Two? MIT Knows How
Daria-Yakovleva / Pixabay

Have you ever tried cracking spaghetti in two pieces? Were you successful? Yes, you’ll say, but are you sure? If not, head over to the kitchen if you’re at home, find yourself a box of spaghetti and pull out a single spaghetti stick. Grab it by both ends and try to break it. Did you succeed? You either have three of four pieces scattered around your kitchen counter, or an entire mess, should you use a whole box of spaghetti.

The spaghetti challenge isn’t a recent mystery. In fact, even a great physicist Richard Feynman spent a good amount of time trying to solve the challenge by cracking spaghetti in two. He couldn’t figure out a logical and theoretical explanation as to why the sticks refused to snap in two.

His experiment had gotten an explanation back in 2005 when a group of French physicists made a theory that described the forces that act on a single spaghetti stick when it’s bent, or any kind of a thin rod for that matter. They discovered that when the stick gets bent from both ends evenly, it will crack near the center, where the curvature is the highest.

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The crack triggers a “snap-back” effect and a bending wave or vibration, which are responsible for the additional cracks on a spaghetti piece. That answered Feynman’s questions, and the discovery itself received the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize.

But is it really impossible to crack spaghetti in two?

Two mathematicians from MIT have discovered the secret of cracking spaghetti in two, by adding a little twist as they were bending it. They described the entire process in a new paper in the