“Oreology” investigates mystery of why Oreo creme filling usually sticks to one side

“There’s the fascinating problem of trying to get the cream to distribute evenly between the two wafers, which turns out to be really hard,” says Max Fan, an undergraduate in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, according to the MIT News Office.

To answer this question the team put Oreos through standard rheology, or the study of the flow of matter, tests. In order to make the field, and the tests they performed, more accessible to the general population, the researchers created the “Oreometer.” This particular contraption can be 3D printed by anyone with the know-how here

Throughout their tests of regular, Double Stuf, and Mega Stuf levels of filling, and regular, dark chocolate, and “golden” cookie flavors, they found that the cream “almost always” ended up on a lone wafer post-twist.

“We had expected an effect based on size,” Owens says. “If there was more cream between layers, it should be easier to deform. But that’s not actually the case.”

Owens also concluded there doesn’t seem to currently be an Oreo-splitting technique that results in an even split.

Everyone has their preferred method for snacking on tasty Oreo cookies: twisting the two halves apart to eat the creme filling first, perhaps, before dunking the chocolate wafers in a glass of milk. But you may have noticed that the creme typically sticks to only one chocolate wafer. MIT scientists tried to get to the bottom of why this is so often the case in a paper published in the journal Physics of Fluids. The authors playfully invoked a new scientific subfield they dubbed “oreology” (“Oreo” after the classic Nabisco cookie, “logy” from the Greek for “flow study,” rheo logia).

Co-author Crystal Owens, a graduate student at MIT, doesn’t study foods in particular; her primary focus is on 3D printing with complex fluid inks. “But great examples of complex fluids are all around us—many foods, sauces, condiments, yogurt, ice cream, and other products,” she told Ars. “So it’s natural and convenient to find foods to test our theories.” Early on in her Phd thesis research, Owens designed a novel rheology tool and tested it on hair gel and mayonnaise to make sure it would work with everyday materials.

Original research paper: On Oreology, the fracture and flow of “milk’s favorite cookie®”: Physics of Fluids: Vol 34, No 4 (scitation.org)

Source: Ars Technica and Boston.com

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