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Spaghetti Strength

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    American Chemical Society

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Spaghetti Strength

In this activity on page 7 of the PDF, learners explore how engineers characterize building materials. Learners test the strength of spaghetti and determine how the number of spaghetti strands affects the strength of a bundle of spaghetti. Use this activity to chemical bonds, mechanical testing, and engineering. Note: The pasta strands can be dipped in water and stuck together to more closely mimic the layers within a piece of plywood. More information about this can be found at the top of page 7, directly underneath the cartoon image. Safety note: Do not eat or drink any of the materials in this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • Small paper cup (4 oz.)
  • String
  • Pencil
  • Raw spaghetti
  • Other uncooked pasta (one thinner and one thicker than spaghetti, e.g. angel hair and fettuccini)
  • Masking tape
  • Metric ruler
  • Pennies


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Manufacturing Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Department of Volunteer Support, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2011


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