When an enormous plate of fries sits in front of you, the only thing to do is go full force with the ketchup. The only problem is that ketchup never seems to behave the way that you want it to.

Try and pour just a little, and you’ll be greeted with an ocean’s worth. On the other hand, when you need that ridiculous amount for dipping, all that comes out is that gross trickle of ketchup-y water.

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George Zaidan of TED-Ed took to YouTube to put the issue to rest once and for all. Here are the highlights of his science lesson:

  • Ketchup sometimes behaves as if it were solid, and sometimes as a liquid.
  • It’s a non-Newtonian fluid, because it doesn’t respond to force in a linear way. Other weird substances include mayo, blood, toothpaste, and peanut butter.
  • One way to make ketchup act like a liquid is to apply extra force. The harder you push, the thinner it gets.
  • The other method? Apply low force for a longer time. This will eventually get the ketchup to flow.

Watch the video to see Zaidan’s full explanation illustrated with glorious cartoons.

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