There are many schools of thought on the best way to eat an Oreo. Dunk it in milk, twist the sides apart, lick the filling off first. Does anyone just bite into it? No matter your preference, mechanical engineers at MIT built a device that can help. Yes, really. Turns out, if you’ve tried to get an equal amount of filling of each side of an Oreo, you too were doing scientific research!
The machine is open source. Anyone can download the directions and 3D print their own to recreate the results for themselves. Amazingly, the scientists named their creation an “Oreometer.” They studied many factors contributing to the proper opening of an Oreo: rotation rate, amount of creme, and cookie flavor.
The researchers also studied how much Oreo dunking affects the cookie’s integrity. What they called “milk imbibation” also had many factors, including percent of milk fat and length of dunk. Altogether, they called this field of work “Oreology.” They share the name hails “from the Nabisco Oreo for “cookie” and the Greek rheo logia for “flow study,” as the study of the flow and fracture of sandwich cookies.”
I don’t usually include figures from scientific papers, but these are just too good not to share. The one above shows the equation based on height and radius of the creme filling, as well as how fast the machine twists the wafer.
The scientists also discovered that the side most likely to have all or most of the creme on it is usually the same throughout each box of Oreos. Whether it’s the left- or right-facing side seems to depend on the flavor. The figure below shows that more than 80% of the time, a box of Oreos will split with the creme on a particular side. The desired 50/50 split when opening an Oreo is rare, no matter the stuf level.
The peer-reviewed journal Physics of Fluids published the study, which we saw on Gizmodo. This didn’t come out on April Fool’s Day so we’re pretty sure this is legitimately something MIT engineers spent time and money on. After all, there’s no wrong way to eat an Oreo, whether they have Batman printed on them or are paired with red wine.
And if you’re wondering about terminology, Oreo filling is called ‘creme’ because it contains no actual cream and the FDA has naming rules. Why it’s referred to as ‘stuf’ is anyone’s guess.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She believes the best way to eat Oreos is in cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.