Why Does Bending Uncooked Spaghetti Break It Into More Than One Piece?

Breaking up isn't hard to do when you're pasta. (Smarter Every Day on YouTube)

Breaking up isn’t hard to do when you’re pasta. (Smarter Every Day on YouTube)

Anyone who’s ever broken a handful of uncooked pasta over a pot of boiling water, only to find noodle shards flying all over the kitchen might wonder why the darn noodles refuse to simply break in half. So why does dry pasta shatter into more than two pieces when you bend it, to the frustration of many a home cook? Science is here to explain.

Because we are lucky enough to have the Internet, connecting us question-askers to those who are prepared to answer those questions, someone out there has taken on this very important question of spaghetti splitting: Smarter Every Day used a camera snapping at 250,000 frames per second to finally bring some closure, and found that it has to do with something called “Cascading fractures.”

Basically, curving spaghetti wants to straighten itself out, and as it does so, the entire piece doesn’t get the memo at the same time, causing multiple breaks.

To the science!

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