The strange, flat pasta that transforms into 3D shapes as you cook

The strange, flat pasta that transforms into 3D shapes as you cook


The new pasta starts out flat, but molds into shape when it cooks.

Morphing Matter Lab / Carnegie Mellon University

Might eat can do be fun.

A paper published by Carnegie Mellon University researchers revealed a new variety of pasta that starts flat, but – incredibly – turns into unique, 3D shapes after being boiled for seven minutes. But beyond the size gimmick, pasta is unique in other ways: it requires less packaging, creates a smaller carbon footprint, and cooks faster than regular dried pasta.

how does it work? Well, machines press small grooves into flat pasta dough made of semolina flour and water. They create groove patterns that react with hot cooking water and transform flat noodles into waves, tubes, spirals, and other shapes. But since it is flat when boxed, it does not require as much packaging and storage space as 3D noodles already require. This can be useful in many places where there is a premium in space, including astronauts in disaster sites, or astronauts.


One of the new pasta varieties, featured both before and after boiling.

Morphing Matter Lab / Carnegie Mellon University

And as inspiration for this sci-fi meal? You may have to thank furniture makers like IKEA.

“We were inspired by flat-pack furniture and how it saved space, made storage easier and reduced the carbon footprint associated with transportation,” said researcher Lining Yao.

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