The Cinnamon Challenge – a now ubiquitous internet viral where people attempt (and fail spectacularly) to swallow a neat dessertspoonful of ground cinnamon is not only scientifically unwinnable, but dangerous.
It’s all down to lubrication, or rather, the lack of it. Jason Bittel sez:
The spice that magically transforms dough and sugar into a sticky bun is actually ground up tree bark, which means we’re talking about a lot of water-resistant cellulose. And according to retired physical chemist Vince Calder, the rest is “a mixture of volatile organic compounds, a major component being cinnamanaldehyde, which is not very water soluble.”
If you want to see this in action without risking asphyxiation, put a tablespoon of cinnamon in a bowl and jostle it until the powder is level. Using a straw, allow a drop of water to fall on the surface. Instead of saturating the cinnamon – like it would with sugar – the water just beads up and rolls around like the liquid seed of a rusty T1000.
Read the full story here.