Researchers from University College London have finally tackled the physics of perfect pancakes and have published their results in Mathematics TODAY.
The study compared 14 different pancakes from around the globe, analyzing their aspect ratio (the diameter of a pancake to the third power and the volume of the batter), and “baker’s percentage” (the ratio of liquid to flour – a lower aspect ratio will result in a thicker pancake, while a higher baker’s percentage results in thinner batter).
Researchers found that aspect ratio varied dramatically based on the recipe. Thick Dutch poffertjes were found to have an aspect ratio of 3 while thin crêpes had an aspect ratio of 300. Baker’s percentage provided noticeable differences in browning but remained relatively steady throughout, with all pancakes ranging between 100 and 225. This is all due to how the water escapes while cooking.
As, uh, interesting as all of this is, the study actually has a far deeper and more important purpose: treating glaucoma. Since glaucoma is the result of liquid building up and becoming trapped in an eye, discovering how liquid can escape through or around a thin surface could hold tremendous value in treating the disease.
Check out the video below for a demonstration.