Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cookies and Milk? Just Use Washburn's Equation!

Photo Credit: evergraphics.com

We’ve all experienced it. The failed cookie dunk. You submerge your biscuit just a little too long, and away it crumbles into the milk before you can get it into your mouth. So there you sit sadly, your last cookie a gunky mess at the bottom of your glass. How can we prevent such tragedies in the future? According to researchers (I’m not making this up), we should rely on Washburn’s equation, L2=γDt/4η, which relates capillary flow in porous substances (like cookies).

Okay, they don’t really expect us to use this equation, but you get the point. You can read the original story from Wired magazine here (it’s down about two-fifths of the page– "Dunk a Cookie in Milk"). The scientific experts proclaimed that a cookie should be submerged for 3.5 to 5 seconds for optimal cookie + milk experience; this way, the cookie will be soft but won’t dissolve into the liquid. Check out the original story to see what the experts say is the best position to hold your cookie in. It sounds a bit too technical for me, but I think I’ll consider the suggestion for optimal dunking time– even though I think this also depends on the type of cookie you’re dunking. It’s entertaining to see what science says about such trivial things like your bedtime snack!

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