LONDON (AFP) - Scientists in Britain have discovered why biscuits seem to break so easily.
Using sophisticated laser techniques, physicists at the University of Loughborough, in the north of England, found that a biscuit develops "fault lines" a few hours after it comes out of the oven.
As it cools down, it picks up moisture around the rim, causing it to expand -- while at the same time, moisture at the centre makes it contract.
The result is a build-up of strain forces which pulls the biscuit apart, making them vulnerable when handled, moved or packaged.
Doctoral student Qasim Saleem said the findings -- published Thursday by the scientific journal Measurement, Science and Technology -- could revolutionize the cookie industry.
"This will help biscuit manufacturers adjust the humidity or temperature of their factory production lines to change the cooling process in such a way that the biscuits won't break up due to normal handling, and hence producing the perfect biscuit," he said.
The Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Alliance, an industry group, puts the size of Britain's biscuit industry at 1.82 billion pounds (2.59 billion euros, 3.03 billion dollars) in turnover terms.