They did it, of course, for science: MIT News reports physics students who puzzled over why the cream in an Oreo tends to stick to just one wafer when you unscrew it not only developed a device to apply different amounts of force to the unscrewing process but realized they had a good experiment for hands-on rheology: "The study of how a non-Newtonian material flows when twisted, pressed, or otherwise stressed."
MIT engineers have now subjected the sandwich cookie to rigorous materials tests to get to the center of a tantalizing question: Why does the cookie’s cream stick to just one wafer when twisted apart?
It turns out the answer may have come from videos showing how Nabisco factories make the cookies - a blob of white goo is globbed onto one wafer, to which it starts to adhere and then the second wafer is added.
In pursuit of the answer, the students built an oreometer - a device for measuring just how much torque is needed to unscrew and Oreo. And since sharing is caring, they've posted computerized instructions for 3-D printing a device that lets you determine exactly how much force to apply in an attempt to unscrew an Oreo without getting your hands too messy.
The researchers also measured the torque required to twist open an Oreo, and found it to be similar to the torque required to turn a doorknob and about 1/10th what’s needed to twist open a bottlecap. The cream’s failure stress - i.e. the force per area required to get the cream to flow, or deform - is twice that of cream cheese and peanut butter, and about the same magnitude as mozzarella cheese. Judging from the cream’s response to stress, the team classifies its texture as “mushy,” rather than brittle, tough, or rubbery.
Seems like it wouldn't be that much of a step from all this to building a device to answer the question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.