Physicists Invent New Pasta Shape That Tangles on Purpose

By Mike Pomranz |

Nothing is worse than when pasta tangles together, leaving your fork completely incapable of twirling for a perfect bite. That is, unless you’re a physicist — a couple of whom created a new type of pasta intended to prove how easily some shapes become intertwined.

Physics and pasta-making might not seem to go hand in hand, but two scientists, Davide Michieletto and Matthew S. Turner from the University of Warwick in England, thought a bit of cooking might help them demonstrate the properties behind a type of large molecule known as ring-shaped polymers.

The new pasta, which they have named “anelloni” after the Italian word for “ring,” resembles strands of fettuccine that have been connected at the ends, resulting in giant loops. (You could also imagine it as tube-shaped pasta that has been stretched to incredible limits.) The result is that — unlike pasta such as spaghetti, where a single strand can be pulled from the pile — these large loops become more easily entangled, making them harder to separate.

This property is very similar to that of ring-shaped polymers, an area of physics that has been difficult for even scientists to explain. “The thing about ring-shaped polymers … is that they're very poorly understood — in fact, they're one of the last big mysteries in polymer physics,” quoted the researchers as saying. Anelloni is a real-world representation of this complex structure.

Just as researchers must publish their results, Michieletto and Turner have published their anelloni recipe. Whether cooking some up with a side of marinara will unlock your inner Einstein is still up in the air. Regardless, no PhD is necessary to try your hand at cooking some really tangled pasta.

[h/t Eater]

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