This Puzzle Asks You To Find The Best Size For A Soup Can

The optimal soup can puzzle is a fun mathematical exercise, but it also has real-world applications. For those in manufacturing and packaging, consideration needs to be used in determining the lowest-cost way to manufacture products, which means using the smallest amount of material necessary. Give it a try yourself in this problem from Presh Talwalkar of the MindYourDecisions YouTube channel:

You need a can that can hold volume V. Three can options all hold the same volume V: one is short and wide, one is equally tall as it is wide, and one is tall and narrow. Which can uses the least material? Watch the video below to learn how this problem is solved, or scroll down to get the answer.

The Optimal Cylinder Puzzle

Can you determine which is the best soup can size?


The optimal soup can for containing volume V is the can that is equally tall as it is wide. This can will use the least material. Watch the video above to learn the math used to arrive at this answer.

Empty The Tank Brain Teaser

This logic puzzle is a little less math heavy—try solving it in your head!

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. This is the empty the tank math puzzle: 00:01

  2. This is the solution to the empty the tank math puzzle: 00:59

Bisecting Yin And Yang Brain Teaser

How can you split up the swirly design evenly?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. It is possible to bisect the yin and yang of a yin yang symbol using a straight line. 01:37

  2. The radius of a circle is one half of its diameter. 03:01

Written by Curiosity Staff November 4, 2016