Oh! Lollipops

Licking lollipop is perhaps one of those activities that you want to do eternally.

Thanks to your slippery saliva, the candy wears out eventually, leaving you a lot disappointed.

Now an interesting study says that it takes at least 2500 licks to finish a lollipop. Only you have to relish an entire lollipop without crunching it.

Flow of liquid like saliva, according to Dr Leif Ristroph of New York University’s Mathematical Science, could sculpt lollipops.

A team led by him placed a variety of boiled sweets into flows of water and observed how they dissolved over time.

It would take around 1, 000 licks of the tongue to dissolve 1 cm of candy, requiring around 2, 500 licks for an average lolly.

Licking lollipop is not at all a complex activity, but the shapes the candy take certainly is.

Fluids can generate unique shapes to them through erosion and dissolution.

“We find that different initial geometries are sculpted into a similar terminal form before ultimately vanishing,” says Dr Ristroph

To simulate effects of licking, the scientists placed candy lollipops ranging from 1 cm to 10cm (0.4-4 inches) into flows of water moving between 0.22mph and 2.2mph.

With time-lapse photography, they monitored how lollipops with shapes including spheres and cylinders dissolved.

They found that regardless of the initial shape of the candy and the speed of the water, it formed consistent shapes over time with about 1cm dissolving each hour.

The back of the lollipop, closest to the stick, flattens relatively quickly.  But the front of candy stays dome shaped and any irregularities in between are smoothed away.

Just as licking continues, the front and back face each other and then come closer slowly.

Dear readers, the study is not at all child’s play.

The findings could be applied to dissolution of materials in chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

 It could also help explain some of the processes that occur during erosion of rocks by rivers and the sea.