It is a physics question that for centuries has vexed some of the greatest science minds in the world.
Why does spaghetti (almost always) break into more than two pieces?
The answer to that not-so-pressing question required a curious mind and a super high-speed camera capable to capturing action at 250,000 frames per second (fps). For reference, a normal video camera captures action at 30 fps.
The curious mind belongs to Destin Sandlin on his YouTube channel, "Smarter Every Day." The high-speed camera needed is the Phantom V1610 model, capable of shooting video as fast as 250,000 fps.
Destin initially debunked Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman's theory on how spaghetti breaks when you bend it. Feynman initially believed that after the "primary tension fracture," vibration at the ends of the noodle would cause the "secondary vibration fractures."
After several attempts at catching the breaking pasta at 18,000 fps, then 40,000 fps, Sandlin cranks the camera's speed up to 250,000 fps and clearly shows the breaks in the dry noodle occur at virtually the exact same time -- within milliseconds of each other.
The event is also known as a "cascading fracture."
This evidence led Sandlin to declare, "It's not vibration." Adding, "It's the curvature of the spaghetti as it straightens out."
As he states in the video, there are several experiments and research papers detailing the properties of elastic rods, like uncooked spaghetti. This may be the first one to show what happened to the snapped noodles at 250,000 fps.
Watch the video via "Smarter Every Day" YouTube channel:
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