“Oreology” and “Oreometer,” or when fluid science looks at Oreos

In the field of science, there is basic research and research really fundamental. However, apart from an existential climate crisis or the war in Ukraine in particular, what could be more crucial for the human species than the study of how they eat their Oreos, these little cookie sandwiches Americans who have become international stars. of the Diabetic Snack?

As Ars Technica narrates, this is how “oreology”, or the science of Oreo, was born, and the “oreometer” with which very serious engineers and researchers sought to understand why the hell, when the two layers of a same cookie are found. separated, its central cream sticks completely to one of the halves as it peels off the other.

Published in the journal Physics of Fluids by four researchers, an article examines one of the great mysteries of modern life. According to the American site, one of the co-authors of the article, Crystal Owens, is not basically a professional expert in cookies, but in 3D printing with complex fluids.

“There are examples of these complex fluids around us: many foods, sauces, condiments, yogurts, ice cream and other products. So it is natural and convenient for us to find food to test our theories.he told Ars Technica.

“Eating a cookie with cream tastes different than eating two cookies with cream in the middle. I’ve always tried to separate the two cookies so that the cream spreads evenly over the two halves, which I think is much better than having a layer with cream. cream and the other almost nothing. “re-justify.

Well, thank you, okay, but what does this have to do with science? Early in his research career, Owens focused heavily on rheology, which Wikipedia defines as “the study of the deformation and flow of matter under the effect of an applied stress”.

pieces of cake

Bingo: Rheology, which uses highly specialized test machines, rheometers, could be found in this little universal cookie “a canonical example for the rheometry of parallel plates”.

The latter involves the use of machines consisting of two disks that make inverted turns on the fluid they contain, to test their reactions. In this case, the disks are the cookies, and the liquid burns the behavior whose behavior we seek to understand.

CE Owens et al.

So Owens and his teammates went to the grocery store on the corner to stock up on cookies: Classic Oreos but also Double Stuf, Mega Stuff, Golden, Dark Chocolate and Team USA Olympic, other varieties of which they wanted test the properties.

“I had in mind the idea that if you stir the Oreos perfectly, the cream could be perfectly distributed between the two halves”, explains the scientist to Ars. Thanks to the use of a professional rheometer or an “oreometer” (a good pun) invented and printed in 3D for the occasion, and gluing the two sides of the cookie with glue to the turntables, his team’s experiments have invalidated this initial hypothesis.

Invariably, no matter the rotational speed or the variety of treatment tried, the cream stayed on one side and left the other. As a hand, like everyone else, PhD in fluid physics or not. This type of behavior, the scientists explain in their article, seems to be explained by the way Oreos are made in the factory rather than by the conditions of their parthenogenesis at home.

Finally, not to mention the soaking resistance tests in which the equipment was given, these tensile tests showed that Oreo cream combines the breaking qualities of foie gras or certain hard cheeses similar to parmesan, and the casting qualities of mozzarella. With a creamy sugar taste and sensations close to those of noble cheeses, therefore, we are less surprised by the international success of the small cookie.

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