Chemistry

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Chemistry Experiment: magic milk

by Oren Lahav

Turn regular milk into a magical piece of art!

This experiment is adapted from the one by Anne Marie Helmenstine, found at About.com.

Materials:

  • A clean plate
  • Milk (2 , whole, whatever)
  • Food colouring- as many cool colours as you'd like!
  • Some dish detergent
  • A cotton swab


The experiment:

  • Pour the milk into the plate. Make sure it covers the entire plate, and that the plate is clean and dry before you use it.
  • Place a few drops of food colouring around the milk in different spots. Be creative! This is your chance to create real art.
  • Dip the cotton swab in dish detergent.
  • Ready? Set?… Go! Touch the milk with the dish detergent swab. You can place it at the centre of the plate, or see what happens when you put it in one side! You don't have to stir or move the swab at all, just sit back and watch the magic.

What's going to happen: (Spoiler alert!) The food colouring will start to swirl and move in different directions, and the once-white milk will become a magnificent, colourful artwork.Cool

You can watch a video of the experiment right here!



The chemistry behind the scenes:

Milk is a homogeneous mixture of many chemical substances, elements and compounds. Among these you will find proteins, which are natural compounds found in food and in your body, fats, which are also found in food and in the body and are generally soluble in organic compounds but not in water, calcium (Ca, element #20), and other cool milky stuff.

Dish detergents are chemicals designed specifically to clean your plate of food. They contain phosphates, which are compounds that have phosphorus and can dissolve calcium, and various enzymes that break down proteins and fats to smaller particles that can be easily washed away with water. Detergents also contain chemicals called surfactants, which lower the surface tension of a liquid and allow easier spreading.

When we add food colouring to the milk, nothing happens. BUT, when the dish detergent touches the milk, things start to move. The surfactants reduce surface tension, which allows the food colouring to spread around the milk. Then the enzymes start to react with the calcium, proteins and fats in the milk, which causes the colour pigments from the food colouring to get pushed around, resulting in a cool colourful pattern.
So you see, it's not magic. It's chemistry!

Chemistry is cool!

11 Comments
    esrtgsdhj
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    esrtgsdhjWed, 25 Sep 2013 19:36:46 -0000

    i wish that they would put a thing aboult why it would aply in the real world i cant find it any were and i need it for home work
    but still it is so cool

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    wodeshifu
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    wodeshifuSat, 23 Mar 2013 03:01:10 -0000

    what is the formula for the magic milk?

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    Nellaa
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    NellaaFri, 28 Dec 2012 16:40:48 -0000

    He I'm interested for page like yours.. a friend of mine promised that he will design it for me but I need web hosting he told me..I was searching for web hosting on internet and I found www.elcoplanet.com as with best comments for their service.. I also found they offer cheapest prices for web hosting …But I can see they are selling reseller alpha reseller master reseller web hsotign and I don't know what to chose.. Does any of you have ever heard about www.elcoplanet.com or maybe use their web hosting service ? Thanks

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    MikeeLivingstone
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    MikeeLivingstoneThu, 08 Nov 2012 10:17:52 -0000

    pretty cool…! huh…

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    camercado
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    Sun, 09 Oct 2011 08:49:11 -0000

    wow… amazing … what a simple but very nice art

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    grren cool mad good famous
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    grren cool mad good famousThu, 17 Mar 2011 12:23:16 -0000

    its way too cooooool im trying this in my final show for chemestry

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    spooky
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    aparnaWed, 06 Jan 2010 13:58:15 -0000

    this really works !!!!!!!!

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    sTriKer901
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    miguel alcantaraWed, 17 Jun 2009 13:13:43 -0000

    yeah right! Chem is cool!!B-)

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    atlas_pakal
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    GIN REATSTue, 21 Oct 2008 09:29:23 -0000

    that's very nice

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    sherbest
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    sherbestWed, 29 Feb 2012 08:59:31 -0000

    your right !!!

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    saumil
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    saumil shrivastavaWed, 15 Oct 2008 10:56:18 -0000

    Thatz a really interesting article :). Thanks

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    Carsten
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    CarstenTue, 30 Sep 2008 20:21:46 -0000

    Oren, the first picture with the cows around the glass of milk is probably one of my favorite pictures in the world.

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    oLahav
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    Oren LahavThu, 23 Oct 2008 14:59:50 -0000

    It is pretty cool… deep stuff.

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oLahav
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About: I don't know how to describe myself... besides, I'm way too biased in this particular topic. What's the point?

Last Updated At Mar 23, 2013
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