Science Has Never Tasted This Good

If you’re having an ice cream sundae party, naturally you’ve got to have a goodly supply of whipped cream on hand — but what’s the perfect angle to spray that whipped cream at? Which one will give you the most bang for your whipped and creamy buck? Amateur scientist and dad Rob Cockerham, who runs the website Cockeyed, decided to find out — and he did it in the most adorable way possible. Cockerham turned the experiment into a fun activity for his kids, who, by the way, are unbearably cute. Parenting: You’re doing it right.

Cockerham’s working theory was that the 90-degree angle would yield the best results: “I had a good feeling that spraying a can of whipped cream would work best if used in a directly inverted position, and that deviating from that spray angle would result in significantly less whipped cream,” he wrote. But was his theory correct? There’s only one way to find out — and you may as well put a bowl of ice cream on the receiving end while you’re at it, because if you’re going to be testing out whipped cream sprayage, the only logical thing to do afterward is to eat it. Yum. Scroll down to see the experiment in action in a couple of videos, and get the Cliffs Notes version here:

The Setup:

First, Cockerham drew a couple of different angles on a piece of foam board with the help of a protractor. For test purposes, he went with 90-, 60-, 45-, 30-, and 0-degree angles. The ice cream flavor du jour appears to be chocolate. Excellent choice.

Test #1:

The results of the first test ended up being inconclusive; by the time they got down to the 30 degree angle, the can was almost empty. Whoops. So let's try again, shall we?

Test #2:

Guess what? The 90-degree angle actually ended up not being the best one. As Cockerham writes, “The gas in the can pushes the whipped cream out, and if the can isn’t vertical, you use more gas than necessary. But that gas isn’t just for pushing out the cream, it is also for frothing the cream.” Holding the can at 90 degrees might conserve the most gas, but holding it at 60 degrees will give you the biggest, fluffiest bowl of whipped cream possible. Head on over to Cockeraham’s post on Cockeyed to see the definitive proof — out of three bowls of ice cream representing the 90-, 60-, and 45-degree angles, the middle, 60-degree bowl definitely looks the most impressive.

Did anyone else have to make ice cream in a plastic bag in their high school chemistry class? If that experiment is still a standard in science classrooms by the time Cockerham’s kids make it to high school, I’m pretty sure they’re going to rock it. If, somehow, you missed out on that one, here — have some instructions, no churn required. Science has never tasted this good!

Images: Thomas Hawk/Flickr; Rob Cockerham/YouTube (3)