Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Science of Jello Shots

One late night, after a day of making jello shots in a hotel room, our resident engineer began to ponder our product.  Is Jello a liquid or a solid?

So if you're as geeky as my friend, such that unanswered questions bothers you, here's the except from the email I received barely 3 hours after we returned from our trip:

Actually it is neither. Jello is something that we call a colloidal suspension. The gelatin in Jello is made of long solid chains of protein molecules. When you mix the gelatin with hot water, these protein molecules break apart and become suspended in the water. However, the individual molecules remain solid. So this is not a solution. As the mixture cools, the protein molecules come back together to form long chains again. However, these chains go in random directions and form a lattice that traps the water molecule within its structure. So, what we have is a mixture of solid and liquid. When it’s hot, then it is a solid suspended in a liquid. When it’s cold, it’s a liquid suspended in a solid. Thus it is classified as a colloidal suspension rather than as being either solid or liquid.

So how much alcohol can we add before jello shots break down?
Check out My Science Project to find out the limits of alcohol you can put in each shot before the colloidal suspension breaks down!

If you're in an adventurous mood, check out some holiday recipes in Better Recipes.

Stay hungry thirsty my friend!