Combining material testing and fundamental engineering principles with a collective physical design challenge, Al Dente Engineering! is an opportunity to learn about the structural characteristics in our most fundamental foodstuffs.
Pasta was tested to destruction in compression and bending to understand what pasta shape is good for what, before using this newfound knowledge to add to the pasta city of London map.
With the recorded data from over 50 young material scientists we’ll be plotting graphs based on the various breaking loads and section dimensions to generate fundamental structural design charts for pasta shapes, similar to those we have for steel and timber elements.
Watch this space for updates as we pull together the results! We think there are some valuable conclusions to be drawn about simple material testing and an engineer’s approach to novel or underused materials, as well as about understanding people’s intuitive understanding of structural engineering fundamentals related to span, section and visible deflection.
The testing was based on some of the more structurally purist pasta shapes, such as capellini, spaghetti, bucati, bucatini, mezzani and linguine. The influence of squid ink, spinach, beetroot, wholewheat and spelt source materials on the elastic properties of pasta will be explored in later studies.
Rigatoni, macaroni, penne and manicotti are of course also of structural interest, however the influence of striations is considered out of the scope of this exercise. Discussions on torsional behaviour and fusilli are for future extended workshops. Cannelloni and lasagne will be discussed as key components of practical pasta construction.
Radiatore, conchiglie, orecchiette and farfalle will be saved for the internal fit-out and facade-based workshops, while orzo has potential as a distributed reinforcement in a cohesive cheese-sauce binding matrix.
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti (and other structural pasta shapes and sections)” – not Sophia Loren
Organisers and tutors: Dan + Phil + Laura + Sinead + Jonny
Open-City, as part of Open House Families
9th June in Jubilee Place, Canary Wharf