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strength of an uncooked spaghetti

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An investigation of a certain factor which affects the strength of uncooked spaghetti.


Aim: To investigate and determine the relationship between the length of uncooked spaghetti and the load applied to it reaching its [uncooked spaghetti’s] breaking point.

General background:

Regular wheat pastas i.e. pastas that need cooking for consumption can be made simply by mixing wheat flour with water, then extruding into pasta shapes and drying. The resulting pasta has good strength, with good cooked firmness and low cooking losses.

The strength of an object can be affected by various factors, such as: size, mass, temperature and many more. However, when it comes to the case of uncooked spaghetti, there are two main factors which affect the strength of uncooked spaghetti. These are: the length of uncooked spaghetti and the cross-sectional area of uncooked spaghetti.

In this experiment, I will investigate the effect the length of uncooked spaghetti has on its strength.


I predict that the longest piece of uncooked spaghetti will be more fragile and brittle compared to the shorter pieces of uncooked spaghetti. This means that the length of uncooked spaghetti will be inversely proportional to its strength i.e. the shorter the piece of uncooked spaghetti the stronger it would be and vice – versa.

Independent Variables:

The independent variable in this experiment was the known length of the piece of uncooked spaghetti.

...read more.


Since the same type of spaghetti was used, the thickness i.e. the cross-sectional area of the spaghetti was kept constant hence, not affecting the readings obtained. The temperature at which all the experiments were conducted also remained constant in the room and this was made sure by constantly measuring the temperature of the room every 15 minutes and noting down the temperatures.


Data Collection:

Mass of the plastic container with string attached to it = 12 g = 0.012 kg

Table 1 below shows the different lengths of pieces of uncooked spaghetti used in the experiments and the volumes of water added to the plastic container serving as the load applied to the spaghetti pieces:


Length of Piece of Uncooked Spaghetti (± 0.05 cm):

Volume of Water added to the plastic container (± 0.5 cm3):



















Since, water has a density of 1 g cm-3, the values of the volumes of water obtained above serve as the same values for the mass of water used. This means:

Density = Mass / Volume

So, Mass = Density X Volume, and because the density of water is 1, Volume of water = the Mass of Water.

1 kg = 10 N

Using the above conversion, the load applied to the pieces of spaghetti was calculated.

For instance, experiment 1:   (25 ± 0.5 g) = (25 ± 2 %)

((25 ± 2 %) * 10) / 1000 = (0.25 ± 2 %) = (0.25 ± 0.005 N)

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The method and materials used for this experiment was pretty good, however some improvements could be made for a more accurate and correct result. The following are some of the errors which were experienced while conducting the experiment and improvements which could be made to overcome the errors:

  • The water used in this experiment to fill the plastic container was collected from the tap and it might have occurred that there could be some impurities present in that water. Due to the presence of these impurities, the density of water might not have been 1 g cm-3 and hence, this might have affected the mass and load readings calculated using this density. Hence, it would have been appropriate if the density of the water collected was also collected before using the water in this experiment.
  • Instead of filling the plastic container with water, another appropriate method could be the use of coins. Coins of known mass could have been used to fill the plastic container and then calculating the load which affects the strength of uncooked spaghetti.
  • Further investigation on the strength of spaghetti could be done using different types of spaghettis i.e. spaghettis with different thicknesses meaning spaghettis comprising of different cross-sectional areas. This would help to investigate and determine the relationship between the strength of uncooked spaghetti and its cross-sectional area.


The information included in the general background in the design section of this lab report on page 1 was obtained from the following web link:

  • http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4435435.html, 09/01/09

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

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