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Aerospace engineers help McDonald’s redesign the straw

16 February 2017

McDonald's USA changed the world (of shake-drinking) with a limited-edition straw designed by a team of aerospace and robotic engineers.

The STRAW (Credit: McDonald's)

The Chocolate Shamrock Shake, one of four new seasonal McCafé beverages, has dual layers of chocolate shake below Shamrock Shake. The new recipe presented McDonald's a unique challenge to reinvent the shake experience. To deliver the ideal flavour ratio of 50 percent chocolate and 50 percent mint in each sip, versus enjoying each flavour separately with a traditional straw, McDonald's turned to highly-qualified engineering firms.

JACE and NK Labs created the probably-more-revolutionary-than-actually-needed Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (the STRAW). The STRAW's j-shape provides optimal flavour flow dynamics. Prototypes of the straw were created using 3D printing and other techniques.

"It was a puzzling assignment but one with an ambitious goal," said Seth Newburg, principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs. "From a physics perspective, it's actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavours with each sip. But that's exactly what we did. It's a marvel of fluid dynamics. Thanks Fibonacci sequence."

Due to the STRAW's unique design, only 2,000 were produced in time for Shamrock season. The STRAW will be available in select participating restaurants with the purchase of a Chocolate Shamrock Shake. 

Visit mcdonalds.mwnewsroom.com/US to learn where and when the lucky few will be distributed. And, like the seasonal offering of the McCafé Shamrock Chocolate offerings, the STRAW is also available for a limited time.

Video courtesy of McDonald's. 


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