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Good plastic spoons

Plastic spoons that don't drip as much
  [vote for,

Nearly every day, I eat lunch in a small cafe. Almost every time I go there, I get a soup. The spoon which I use to eat this soup always drips the soup in my lap. Now, I'm a slob, but I don't drip soup when I use a metal or porcelain spoon at home. I've looked at plastic spoons, and I think there's something about the combination of the material and the way they're shaped that makes them drip. Not the tea spoons, but the soup spoons. There must be some way to keep them from dripping.
mcfrank, May 19 2000

SPOON! The Tick HQ http://www.cs.rose-...~stinerkt/Tick.html
[johan, May 19 2000]


       We'll get to work on it. In the meantime, don't spare the napkins.
centauri, May 19 2000

       This is just a hunch, but I think it has something to do with surface tension. Go try eating a specially greasy soup (like egg drop soup) with a plastic spoon and watch how the smaller drops of soup bead on the material.
koz, May 20 2000

       I, too, have found many plastic spoons to be severely lacking: if they don't dribble, the edges are too sharp and they cut the sides of my mouth. I just carry around my favorite metal spoon with me (usually in my backpack). The other benefit to this is not adding another spoon to the local landfill. Sure, people may think you're a little goofy, but if they ask you about it, it's an excellent opportunity to introduce them to The Tick.
johan, May 21 2000

       I always go to a chinese restaurant and they have the spoons with the small handle and deep, enlarged spoon head. I would like it if that would be availible in plasic. Those almost never spill for me.
NOFX, May 21 2000

       I think the problem with the plastic spoons are that they are "deeper" than a normal spoon. I feel that my mouth has trouble keeping a "seal" around the spoon as I withdraw it. With normal spoons, you are accustomed to being able to make certain head movements once the spoon is in mouth (until the spoon is completely removed the seal is complete and there is no way to spill.) With the plastic spoons, the break in the seal combined with "normal" eating head motions causes spillage.   

       I think the Chinese restaurant spoons mentioned above are much deeper and bigger and not made for complete mouth insertion...you generally sip from those and thus you are subconciously being much more careful with your potentially spill inducing movements.
blahginger, Jun 30 2000

       I think it has more to do with the curvature or thickness of the spoon. With metal spoons, very rarely does the soup ease over the lip and roll down to the bottom before dripping--if you spill, you spill. It also may have to do with the texture of the material, that soup beads on the plastic.
mcfrank, Jul 12 2000

       One thing is for certain: you can't cook up a good rock from a plastic spoon, but you sure can get silly inhaling fumes generated by burning plastic.
julien, Aug 14 2000

       The problem is the "beading" effect many of you have noticed. Plastic spoons are usually made from polyethylene (typically HDPE). Water doesn't adhere to polyethylene the way it does to metal or ceramic; since water is very cohesive (because it's highly polar -- remember "electronegativity" from high school chem?), it will tend to "bead" on such a surface.   

       Adhesion is a source of friction, and the "beads" have less contact area with the surface of the spoon, so in total they suffer much less drag as they slide around. This makes liquids on a plastic spoon tend to slide off the edge.   

       One way to fix the problem would be to add some soap to your soup, which will lower the cohesion (surface tension) of the water so it will bead less. Unfortunately, this will also make the soup taste horribly bitter.   

       A better solution might involve a coating on the spoon -- perhaps something like the car windshield treatments used to prevent beading (to improve visibility in the rain). I'm not sure if they'd come off in your mouth and taste bad or poison you or what, though. A sufficiently bright chemist could probably come up with something, but getting it FDA approved would probably be a major hassle, and plastic utensil manufacturing isn't exactly a high-volume business.   

       So why don't you just stop getting soup for lunch??
egnor, Aug 15 2000


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