Visual Encyclopedia

Drinking straw

A drinking straw or drinking tube is a small pipe that allows its user to more conveniently consume a beverage. A thin tube of paper, plastic (such as polypropylene and polystyrene), or other material, straight or with an angle-adjustable bellows segment, is used by holding one end in the mouth and the other in the beverage. Muscular action (a combination of the muscles of the tongue and cheeks) reduces air pressure in the mouth and above the liquid in the straw, whereupon atmospheric pressure forces the beverage through the straw. Plastic straws amount for a significant amount of unrecycled plastic waste, as a result, numerous campaigns have led to companies such as McDonald's reverting to paper straws.

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So, ever wonder how long you can make a straw before you can no longer drink through it? These guys did. Because apparently that required less work than going downstairs to refill their drinks. This also includes an explanation of how a drinking straw actually works--and why one longer than 10 meters will not.

Contributed by Sammo Lea

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