Science Wows Pancake Science Magazine - Page 7

A Simple Slice of Science asks... Why are pancakes round? Why ARE pancakes round? That’s a very good question. The answer lies in a few things... gravi ty, surface tension, the angle the batter is dropped into the pan at, and the surface of the pan. p Gravity Gravity is that invisible force that keeps us from floating off into space. Everything has gravity but some more than others. The earth has a lot of gravitation force which is why things fall down, not up. Just like our pancake batter. Gravity pulls on liquids uniformly, which means that batter is pulled out in all directions with the same force, making the pancake nice and round. p Surface tension Surface tension is an attraction of the molecules on the surface of a liquid. They pull together slightly, and their force acts almost like a skin. Surface tension pulls evenly on the edges of the pancake helping to hold it in that nice round shape. The surface of the pan Or course if the surface of the pan is bumpy or sloped gravity and surface tension will not act on the batter in the same way! What about the angle that it hits the pan at? The batter needs to drop straight down onto the pan (at a 90 degree angle). If it hits the pan at a different angle then we get an irregular shaped pancake! 6