Does flat pack pasta actually save on transport costs and emissions?
Hoping to bring the food staple into a sustainable 21st century, US-based academics developed morphing flat-pack pasta.
They stamped grooves into flat pasta sheets which, when boiled, swelled into penne, rigatoni and farfalle.
Traditional pasta already morphs when cooked, expanding and softening when boiled. The team harnessed these natural properties to create its flat-packed pasta – made of only semolina flour and water.
Assistant Prof Lining Yao, director of the Morphing Matter Lab, said: “We were inspired by flat-packed furniture and how it saved space, made storage easier and reduced the carbon footprint associated with transportation.”
Fun project to do, certainly, but does it actually save on transport costs?
Hmm. The defining line is the weight of water. Transport works on volume weight. Yes, you can get 36 tonnes into a 40 foot container. 36 tonnes of feathers would never fit. 36 tonnes of gold would be a layer on the floor. You can definitely get 36 tonnes of water in.
The rough and ready guide then becoming. If the item is more dense than water then it works on weight – 36 tonnes. If it’s less dense than water then it’s volume – the m³ of the container. So, is past more or less dense than water?
More, obviously. But what about shapes, with air, in a package? I don’t actually know. A packet of spaghetti almost certainly denser than water. A bag of farfalle? Penne? Umm?
I hope the researchers found out the answer before they started…..