Scientists Create Flat Pasta That Changes Shape
A team of scientists have developed an unusual way of making flat pasta that allows it to turn into fancy 3D shapes as it cooks. The team hopes that the new pasta will be easier on the environment.
If you’re a pasta lover, then you know that the noodles come in all sorts of different shapes. There are flat noodles, round noodles, shells, curvy “elbows”, tubes with stripes, fancy spirals, and many, many more.
Some of these pastas, like ordinary spaghetti, pack easily into a small box or package. But others require much larger boxes or bags because their hard 3D shapes wrap around a whole lot of air.
Now a team of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has figured out a way that pasta can be packed flat, like sticks of gum in a package, and still form fancy 3D shapes once it’s cooked.
Lining Yao, who leads the “Morphing Matter Lab” at CMU says the team was inspired by “flat-pack furniture”. Flat-pack furniture, such as that sold by Ikea, comes tightly packed in a box, but then can be built into a large piece of furniture that takes up a much greater amount of space.
To bring the flat-pack idea to the pasta world, the scientists used a fairly simple trick – stamping grooves in the pasta. The area of the pasta with grooves takes longer to cook.
The scientists used computers to help them plan their groove patterns. The team came up with lots of different shapes of pasta, many of them similar to pasta styles that already exist.
Did You Know…?
Seventeen scientists took part in the research. Some were from CMU and others were from Syracuse University and Zhejiang University.