Got a can of

Pringles handy? Take one out and look at it. You wouldn't expect there to be much of interest about a

potato crisp besides the taste (and with most varieties of

Pringles, even that's

debatable). However, the

Pringle is special.

Little.

Yellow.

Different.

Mathematical.

The shape of a Pringle is the surface of a hyperboloid (or maybe a paraboloid, I dunno) of two sheets bounded by an elliptical cylinder. This shape gives the Pringle strength to survive shipment and uniformity to stack a lot of them into a little can. If someone would like to take some measurements and derive some equations, you can put them here. If you'd rather build stuff with them, please read on.

One day, I constructed what I christened simply The Pringle Thing. I took a bunch of Pringles and started stacking them up, overlapping them for support, until they formed a freestanding hollow tube. This required no adhesive or external support of any kind. I have photographic evidence, honest!

The Pringle's two axes have different curvatures; the short axis has a more pronounced curvature than the long axis. So far, I've only used the short axis to build the Thing, making a longer but squatter tube, but it seems possible (and I encourage this!) to construct a taller one on the long axis, also with no external support.

I wonder what other constructions are possible with this versatile snack?