Do Oreo Cookies Burn?

Contributors: Jonathan Trembley

 

EXPERIMENT:

  • To determine whether or not Oreo Cookies can be easily destroyed via rapid oxidation and the best way to achieve this process.


MATERIALS (method 1):

  • Oreo Cookie
  • Tin foil (to protect surroundings)
  • Ignition agent (a lighter)

PROCEDURE (method 1):

  1. In a place where the burning of objects is acceptable and safe, place the Oreo on the tin foil.
  2. Using the ignition agent, attempt to light the Oreo for 30 seconds (picture 1).
  3. Record observations.

DATA (method 1):

  • Data table 1 shows observations made by the senses when attempting to burn Oreo cookies as described above in procedure (method 1).
    Sense used: Observation made:
    Taste Relatively normal. A slight charred taste was detected on the biscuit at the sight where the Oreo was in contact with the flame; however, the rest of the cookie and the entirety of the crème tasted normal.
    Touch The biscuit was completely unchanged texturally but the crème had lost its firmness where it was in contact with the flame. The cookie as a whole was able to be squashed and crème pushed out the side near where the crème had been in contact with the flame (picture 2)
    Sound No change, well besides the incessant flicking of a lighter.
    Smell No new change.
    Sight The biscuit was completely unchanged visually while the crème appeared to flow much more easily. The cookie as a whole was able to be squashed and crème pushed out the side near where the crème had been in contact with the flame (picture 2).

RESULTS (method 1):

  • A lighter is not an effective way to destroy an Oreo.
  • A lighter does not make an Oreo taste better.
  • Attempting to light an Oreo for thirty seconds leaves one’s fingers very hot afterward.
  • Oreo’s that have been introduced to flame from a lighter do not change over time after the flame has been removed, even after a week of sitting in a fume hood.

MATERIALS (method 2):

  • Oreo Cookie
  • Tin foil (to protect surroundings)
  • Ignition agent (a lighter)
  • 10 mL Accelerant (hand sanitizer)

PROCEDURE (method 2):

  1. In a place where the burning of objects is acceptable and safe, place a sheet of tin foil and an Oreo that has been covered on both sides with the accelerant.
  2. Using the ignition agent, light the accelerant.
  3. Record observations.

DATA (method 2):

  • Data table 2 shows observations made by the senses when attempting to burn Oreo cookies as described above in procedure (method 2).
    Sense used: Observation made:
    Taste This method was not tasted due to its poisonous nature.
    Touch Wet where the accelerant was, but dry where it had burned. The cookie as a whole could not be compressed to produce the same effect as method one had. Both Biscuit and crème were unchanged except for the presence of the accelerant.
    Sound During the burn, the accelerant produced a faint sizzling sound, but the cookie as a whole made no noise.
    Smell The system before experiment smelled of alcoholic hand sanitizer. The system after smelled of alcoholic hand sanitizer.
    Sight Once the accelerant was lit, it began to burn and could be seen to be used up as time passed, sizzling and decreasing in size. The hand sanitizer eventually produced visible flame about 30 seconds after ignition. The visible flame grew in size but began to decrease around a minute and 20 seconds into burn (picture 3). The flame went out after 2 minutes and five seconds of burning with accelerant left both on top and around the Oreo. Afterward the entire system smoked for half a minute and then no further visible activity occurred. The Oreo, although doused in accelerant, was visibly unchanged.

RESULTS (method2):

  • Hand sanitizer is not a proper accelerant to actually ignite an Oreo Cookie and is therefore not an effective way to destroy it.
  • Oreo Cookies are quite fire Retardant due to the fact that they put out hand sanitizer.
  • Watching hand sanitizer burn is not exciting.
  • Although the experiment did not work as expected, the cleanest Oreo Cookie ever to be in Albion School was produced.
  • An Oreo Cookie that is already as clean as possible can only get dirtier or stay as clean over time. It is safe to assume that this one got dirtier.

MATERIALS (method 3):

  • Oreo Cookie
  • Tin foil (to protect surroundings)
  • Ignition agent (a Bunsen burner)
  • Tongs

PROCEDURE (method 3):

  1. In a place where the burning of objects is acceptable and safe, place the Oreo on 2 to 3 sheets of tin foil.
  2. Light the Bunsen burner and adjust it until a good blue flame is achieved then pick up the Oreo in the tongs and place the flame upon the cookie (picture 4 & 6).
  3. Record observations.

DATA (method 3):

  • Data table 3 shows observations made by the senses when attempting to burn Oreo cookies as described above in procedure (method 3).
    Sense used: Observation made:
    Taste This Cookie tasted much like a burnt marshmallow—a very very burnt marshmallow. The area of the biscuit that had been in contact with the flame the longest was the most burnt and the amount of burnt biscuit decreased proportional to the amount of time that that particular area had been rapidly oxidizing. The cream gave the cookie its marshmallow-like taste which is dissimilar from its original taste. Although the crème mainly melted, what remained essentially provided the flavor regardless of how much it was burnt.
    Touch The biscuit, after burning, became very brittle but hard to the touch and the crème followed suit. Pressure can still compress the biscuit, so it retained some of its malleable character, but mostly all the water had left the cookie which left it in its brittle state.
    Sound The cookie itself made no sound, but the sounds associated with a well-tuned, well-working Bunsen Burner were present during the experiment.
    Smell During the experiment, the smell of fire and burning hydrocarbon was present, but afterward, the lab was filled with an aroma not too far from a poorly-done chicken barbecue (Or maybe an exceptionally well-done—very burnt—chicken barbecue)
    Sight The flame was left upon the cookie during the entire expanse of the experiment. Due to the constant force from the oxidizing hydrocarbon, the biscuit, over time, was pushed up and folded back by the flame. The lower biscuit, which was in less contact with the flame, was undamaged (picture 6). The Crème over time would sizzle, drip, and flow, so the cookie was placed upon the tin foil for the remainder of the experiment to avoid damaging equipment (picture 5). The crème, by the end of the experiment, was completely carbonized or disintegrated and was no longer present with the cookie. Once the flame was removed, the cookie remained on flame for an average of 10-15 seconds and then the flame extinguished. The cookie would then smolder for 3-5 minutes and the completely go out, leaving behind two biscuits that were stuck together with carbon but with the floral design still intact on what cookie is left.

RESULTS (method 3):

  • A Bunsen burner will effectively (and very entertainingly) destroy an Oreo Cookie!
  • It can be concluded that Oreo Cookies are in actuality very fire retardant as they do not catch fire easily at all and within minutes put themselves out. This could be due to the cookies percent composition of water which led to method 4 and 5.
  • The burnt chicken smell does not leave.

MATERIALS (method 4):

  • Oreo Cookie
  • Tin foil (to protect surroundings)
  • Ignition agent (a Bunsen burner)
  • A dehydrator (to remove water from  cookie)

PROCEDURE (method 4):

  1. Twenty four hours before experiment, place and leave Oreo in the running dehydrator.
  2. At time of experiment, remove cookie and place it on several sheets of tin foil in a fire safe area.
  3. Light the Bunsen burner and adjust it until a good blue flame is achieved then place the flame upon the cookie. Once they have caught flame, remove the burner.
  4. Record observations.

DATA (method 4):

  • Data table 4 shows observations made by the senses when attempting to burn Oreo cookies as described above in procedure (method 4).
    Sense used: Observation made:
    Taste Same as Method 3
    Touch The Biscuit was completely hard to the touch but easy to break and had no malleability left to it. The crème was almost powder like to begin the experiment and was gone at the end, reduced to carbon (picture 7).
    Sound Same as method 3
    Smell Same as method 3
    Sight For this method, the visual observations were very similar to that of Method 3 as well, however everything happened much faster. The Biscuit and went up in flame much faster and staid lit longer. The crème sizzled sooner and disintegrated more quickly (picture 8). The smoldering of the cookie lasted 17-22 minutes, although the cookie was not reduced to ash.

RESULTS (method 4):

  • A dehydrated Oreo is more easily destroyed than a normal one; however, waiting twenty-four hours is very difficult.
  • Bunsen Burners will melt through multiple layers of tin foil.
  • Even though the percent composition of water for the Oreo was decreased, the Oreo was not reduced to ash. Therefore, the fire-retardant quality of Oreo’s holds true.

MATERIALS (method 5):

  • Oreo Cookie
  • Tin foil (to protect surroundings)
  • Ignition agent (a Bunsen burner)
  • A dehydrator (to remove water from  cookie)
  • A Hammer

PROCEDURE (method 5):

  1. Twenty four hours before experiment, place and leave Oreo in the running dehydrator.
  2. At time of experiment, remove cookie and place it on several sheets of tin foil in a fire safe area.
  3. Using the hammer, crush the cookie into small pieces (picture 9).
  4. Light the Bunsen burner and adjust it until a good blue flame is achieved then place the flame upon the cookie pieces. Once they have caught flame, remove the burner.
  5. Record observations.

DATA (method 5):

  • Data table 5 shows observations made by the senses when attempting to burn Oreo cookies as described above in procedure (method 5).
    Sense used: Observation made:
    Taste Ashen taste to the entire cookie.
    Touch The cookie when touched is reduced to an ashen powder and does not hold its shape.
    Sound Same as method 3
    Smell Same as Method 3, except in the final stages, only an ashen, fire-like smell remains similar to the very final stages of fire that is running out of solid fuel.
    Sight For this method, the visual observations were very similar to that of Method 4; however, instead of stopping, the increased surface area of the Oreo cookie allowed the reaction to continue and for the cookie to completely react. This time, the cookie by the end looked completely like an ashen pile and all original visual properties were, for the most part, gone. When closely observed, ridges from the side of the cookie and the floral designs could be seen (picture 10), however, after the pile of ash was touched, the ash lost its shape and no longer had any resemblance to an Oreo. The entire process, however, took close to an 35-40 minutes

RESULTS (method 5):

  • The crushed, dehydrated Oreo was able to be completely burnt.
  • Method 5 is the least exciting form of destruction and yet the most effective.
  • Eating ash = not fun.
  • Ash will remain ash unless acted upon by an outside force, which it wasn't.

POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS:

  • When Oreo’s fire-retardant capability was initially discovered, the initial thought for an application was a firefighter’s suit made out of Oreo Cookies. However, Oreo’s are not heat resistant, and therefore would burn any firefighter regardless of if a flame ever got to him or her, so this idea was abandoned.
  • If one is near a fume hood with a Bunsen burner, some tin foil, Oreo’s, and is looking for a good time, he or she now knows what to do.
  • If one has a burning hatred for either the biscuit or the crème, the best way to carry out this rage is to take a Bunsen burner to the crème or dehydrate, crush, and take a Bunsen burner to the biscuit—anger management in a nutshell.

EXTERNAL LINKS:

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 DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed herein are in no way affiliated with the Albion Central School District or Nabisco in any way.