Pancakes: flipping formulas, world records and low profile load cells

Published On: February 17 2020


As Shrove Tuesday approaches, many of us will be gearing up for an evening of throwing half-cooked pancake batter in the air in the vain hope that it returns uncooked side down to the pan rather than sticking to the ceiling.

At The Load Cell Shop, every day is pancake day, of course! Our pancake load cells, aka low profile load cells, are ideal for a range of industrial measuring, testing and laboratory applications. Low profile load cells resist extraneous loads including bending, torque and side loads. So, pancake load cells are highly effective for fatigue testing, test rigs and for force measurement testing. Our low profile load cells are available in a wide range of capacities from 2.5kN to 300kN, and are compatible with our load cell bases.


Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday (25th February 2020) is the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. For those wishing to fast or give up certain foods during Lent, Shrove Tuesday is the last opportunity to use up foods such as butter, eggs and milk.

“The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday was named after the custom of Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent.”


The perfect pancake formula is…

According to researchers at University College London, led by Professor of Mathematics Frank Smith by, the formula for the perfect pancake is:

L = 4×H /π– D / 2

(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)

A true pancake flipping pro might prefer the longer version:

[U, ω, V, L] = [(2gH)1/2, π(g/ 8H) 1/2, (g/ 32H) 1/2(8H – πD), V / ω]

(U = upward speed of centre of pancake / ω = rotation rate / V = upward speed of inner edge of pancake / g = 9.81 m/s2 (acceleration due to gravity)


Flippin’ records

If you do fancy flipping pancakes and set a record, you’ll need to beat the current record holders…

  • The tallest stack of pancakes was made by Center Parcs Sherwood Forest. It measured is 101.8 cm (3 ft 4 in) tall.
  • The most tosses of a pancake in one minute was achieved by Australian chef Brad Jolly, who achieved 140 flips in just 60 seconds in 2012.
  • The record for the most people tossing pancakes was achieved at an event organised by the University of Sheffield (UK), when 890 people all flipped at once (s to speak).
  • Marathan runners have set many records in their time, but this one has been around since 1999. The world record for the fastest marathon flipping a pancake is currently held by Mike Cuzzacrea from the USA. He completed the Casino Niagara International Marathon in a time of 3 hr 2 min 27 sec, while flipping his pancake continually in and out of a frying pan. (If you fancy breaking it, the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on Sunday 26 April 2020.)


Record-breaking pancakes

In 1994, the largest pancake in the world was made by the Co-op up in Rochdale in 1994. It weighed a massive 6,614lbs and measured 49 ft and 3in long. Looking at the right in picture at the Guinness Word Records website ( we suspect load cells were used somewhere in that lifting/flipping rig!

And finally – juggling pancakes

No, not the batter kind but the pancake throw invented by Sergei Ignatov. This trick is where “a ring rotates in the air in a visible way, with the top rotating toward the juggler like a club.” In other words, this:


Load cells online – shop anytime

Our online load cell shop is open 24/7. We design and manufacture our own load cells here in Reading Berkshire. So, if you’d like us to “whisk up” a bespoke load cell or design you a “batter” load cell solution, call us during office hours.