Tag: chemistry’

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Seven weeks from today, my new book “Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition” hits shelves everywhere books are sold, and there are some great pre-order sales going on now! Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, Edible Edition gives you 52 delicious ideas for exploring food science in your own kitchen by making everything from healthy homemade snacks to scrumptious main dishes and mind-boggling desserts.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book….

When you step into your kitchen to cook or bake, you put science to work. Physics and chemistry come into play each time you simmer, steam, bake, freeze, boil, puree, saute, or ferment food.

Make boba smoothies to learn about tapioca science. (Image from Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition 2019)

Use steam pressure to make delicious popovers expand like balloons! (Image from Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition 2019)

Homemade pesto is a tasty emulsion! (Image from Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition 2019)

Simple freezer sorbet is a mouth-watering way to explore crystal formation in sweet syrups! (Image from Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: Edible Edition 2019)

Knowing something about the physics, biology, and chemistry of food will give you the basic tools to be the best chef you can be. The rest is up to you!

Dying Yarn (or Your Hair) using Kool-Aid

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

You can dye a rainbow of streaks in your hair using Kool-Aid drink mix. Practice on yarn first to perfect your technique!

Sheep’s wool and human hair are both made up of proteins called keratins, which can be dyed using chemical mixtures called acid dyes. These dyes are used to dye wool and alpaca, and some of the non-toxic ones can be used to dye human hair. Despite their name, they don’t actually contain acids. Instead, they require mild acid, such as citric acid or vinegar to be present in order for them to attach to proteins.

Kool-Aid drink mixes contain acid dyes that are perfect for dying keratin, and the color will wash away in a few washes. The mixes usually contain citric acid, but it helps to add vinegar as well to create an acidic solution. Colors will be most visible on lighter-toned hair or hair that has been chemically lightened, but you can dye dark hair too, by using more Kool-Aid mix.

Remember, Kool-Aid stains skin, fabric and other surfaces!

To dye yarn you’ll need:

100%  wool yarn (white or cream, not cotton or synthetic fiber)

Kool-Aid drink mixes (powdered or liquid concentrate)

vinegar

scissors

  1. Cut yarn into desired length and tie into bundles.

2. Soak yarn in warm water for 30 minutes.

3. In small containers, add enough vinegar to cover yarn and enough Kool-Aid to create intense colors.

4. After 30 minutes, put the wet yarn in the vinegar.

5. Soak for 30 minutes to overnight.

6. Remove yarn from dye, rinse well with cold water and hang to dry.

7. To make multi-colored yarn, soak yarn in vinegar and then squirt dye directly onto yarn. Let sit, rinse out and dry.

 

To dye streaks or the tips of your hair, shampoo and dry your hair. Skip the conditioner and put on an old shirt that can be stained.

Add the desired shade of Kool-Aid to vinegar in a bowl and soak the portions of your hair that you want dyed in the Kool-Aid mix for half an hour or so.

Rinse ends several times and dry. Remember that if your hair gets wet, it may transfer color to your clothes!

 

Hard Candy Stained Glass- Edible Science

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Most clear hard candy has what scientists call a glass structure. It’s a disorganized jumble of three kinds of sugar: glucose, fructose and sucrose, which can’t assemble into organized crystals, so it remains transparent when you melt it and allow it to re-harden.

 

Hard Candy Stained Glass “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

To make stained glass for our gingerbread house windows, I adapted the crushed stained glass candy project from my book “STEAM Lab for Kids.” The challenge was figuring out how to create perfect rectangles. After some trial and error, I discovered that scoring the candy when it was still warm and soft created weak points, which allowed me to snap the candy into clean shapes once it had hardened.

Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

You’ll need:

-Jolly Ranchers, Life Savers or another clear, hard candy

-a baking sheet (spray or grease the baking sheet, if not using a silicon liner)

-a silicon liner for the baking sheet, if you have one

-a metal spatula or dough scraper

-an oven

Safety tip: Adult supervision recommended. Hot, melted candy can cause burns. Don’t touch it until it has cooled.

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Unwrap the candy and arrange the pieces on a baking sheet so that they’re close together, but not touching.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  3. Bake the candy for 7 to 8 minutes, or until it has melted. 
  4. Remove the candy from the oven. Tilt the baking sheet, if needed, to fill gaps.
  5. Use the spatula to score (make lines in) the candy, creating whatever shapes/sizes you need.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  6. When the candy has cooled, snap it carefully along the lines you made. (See photo at the top of this post.)
  7. Eat your creations, or use them to decorate some edible architecture.

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

  8. Try crushing the candy before you melt it for different visual effects. What else could you try?

    Stained Glass Candy “STEAM Lab for Kids” Quarry Books 2018

 

 

 

Elemental Science: Gallium

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Gallium is a soft metal related to other metals in Group 13 of the periodic table, including aluminum. It doesn’t exist as a free element in nature, but can be purified from other metallic ores, like zinc. Each gallium atom has 31 protons in its nucleus, so its atomic number is 31.

You’ll find it around you in thermometers, semiconductors, and even some LED lights, and one property that makes it so cool is that it melts from solid to liquid at low temperatures (around 85.6 degrees F or 29.8 degrees C.) This makes it easy to play with the liquid metal simply by melting it in a glass of hot water, or in the palm of your hand.

You can see the crystal structure in the side of the gallium “Lego” we created in play dough! KitchenPantryScientist.com

*Not for small children! Wearing gloves and safety goggles is recommended when observing gallium. Although is is fairly safe, gallium will coat hands with a lead-like substance. (Wash with soap and water to remove.) Gallium can also damage other metals, so keep it away from jewelry, like rings. I always recommend doing your research, as well as checking out the MSDS (Material Data Safety Sheet) of a new substance before using it to know what precautions to take.

We ordered 99.99% pure gallium on Amazon. It arrived in plastic tubes,in crystal form, but by placing the tubes in hot tap water, it melted easily. Eye droppers work well for moving the melted metal around. I’d recommend using a rimmed paper plate to contain the mess.

Try imprinting a Lego or toy car in play dough and pouring the molten gallium into the imprint. When it solidifies, you’ll have a cast of the item you imprinted! (It takes a while.) Gallium coats glass to create mirrored surfaces, so you can pour some into a small jar and use it to coat the sides. If you leave some in a puddle on the bottom of an upside-down jar, you can watch crystals form.

In other words, it’s pretty awesome!