It speaks to the popularity of spaghetti that experts have been scientifically grappling with the behavior of thin sticks of pasta for decades. A few years ago, the question posed by physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988) why spaghetti is so hard to break was answered. In most cases, the result is not two parts, but three or sometimes more. From a culinary point of view, however, raw spaghetti isn’t exactly one of the most interesting foods. But now research has also taken a look at cooked pasta. 2020 features two engineering scholars from UC Berkeley Introduce a model describing the mechanisms of transition, in which spaghetti bars change from the stationary state to the elastic state and back again.
In doing so, they followed a familiar situation: during preparation, dry spaghetti is placed in a saucepan of hot water. So that they do not have to break it, they often bend first to the wall of the pot. After a short time it deforms and sinks in water. What happens in the pasta process?
There is amazing physics hidden behind many everyday objects. I felt it for many years Hans Joachim Schlichting He traces these phenomena and explains them to readers of “The Spectrum of Science” in his column. Schlichting is a professor of educational physics and worked at the University of Münster until his retirement.
Like most types of pasta, spaghetti is made with durum wheat semolina. Semolina contains starch and protein. The latter can be imagined as fine, microscopically interwoven filaments, the force in turn corresponding to small granules. Semolina is mixed with water and the resulting dough is kneaded vigorously. The wrinkled protein strands unfold compactly at first and fade with the starch to form a cohesive paste. The connection is so strong that the cooked spaghetti won’t come apart later. By pressing the dough through the nozzle, the individual strands get a round cross-section. Delicate drying brings the well-known shape and hardness.
From soft dough to tough pasta and back again
Their preparation in boiling water effectively reverses the manufacturing process. During the transition from solid to elastic, the liquid gradually penetrates into the dry, porous and hydrophilic (hydrophilic) mass of dough. The process is done automatically because forming the interface between pasta and water requires less energy than that between pasta and air. With cold water, indoor hydration will take a very long time. The average speed of movement of its microscopic components increases with increasing temperature of the material; Thus, the front of the hot water molecules progresses faster.
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