Optimum candy physics: How best to enjoy M&Ms and Skittles

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Candy

The study assessed the dissolution process of spherical candies such as Skittles - Flickr - mutednarayan
The study assessed the dissolution process of spherical candies such as Skittles - Flickr - mutednarayan
Austrian-based researchers claim to have calculated the optimal way to enjoy spherical candies and make them last for longer.

The paper titled ‘Sticky physics of joy’ looked at how spherical candies, such as Nestlé’s Smarties or Wrigley’s Skittles, dissolve in the mouth to ascertain the optimum candy-eating method.

On introducing the paper, the researchers said it would address “serious questions” ​on candy enjoyment “like whether it is wise to split the candy by breaking it with the teeth or not”.

Retain the spherical shape ‘by all costs’

They concluded that connoisseurs should retain the spherical shape for as long as possible.

“As so often, the answer depends on what the person enjoying the candy considers as the optimum. If the time the candy lives should be maximized, the eater of the candy should try to maintain the spherical shape of the candy by all costs,”​ they said.

They found that when candy is broken into many pieces with teeth the surface area increases and speeds the process of losing mass, causing the candy to last for a shorter spell.


The research said that the dissolution process kicks in when the candy is embedded in saliva-reservoirs causing the candy to deteriorate.

The researchers placed measured candy fragments in a bowl of tap water. Water has roughly the same Ph as salvia and can mimic conditions in the mouth.

An electric motor stirred the water to prevent clouds of saturation and the candies were photographed.

The frames taken on the camera were then fed into a computer for comparison.

Forget all that you have learnt

To make the candy last longer the researchers said consumer should keep the sphere shape intact for as long as possible. However, they added that it was best to forgot about these findings.

“Even though we now know how candies dissolve in time we stress that the best thing to do when eating a candy is to forget about these considerations, since they draw your attention away from what candies are made for: enjoyment,”​ they concluded.


Article submitted to Physics Education
‘Sticky physics of joy: On the dissolution of spherical candies’
Authors: Andreas Windisch, Herbert Windisch, Anita Popescu

Related topics Ingredients Candy

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Scientific tools make no scientist

Posted by Alexander Peskin,

It is amazing how often scientific rigor and tools make people believe that this is the essence of science.
Only the last sentence makes sense. However, we knew it it upfront.

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Dubious science

Posted by Grumpy,

Shock discovery!! - increasing surface area increases the rate of dissolution.

Does this statement of the blindingly obvious really qualify as research?!

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