Red hot nickel ball goes for the win over gelatin

first_imgWhat do you get when you take a ball of the metal nickel and add heat? Why, the one and only red hot nickel ball (RHNB).The way red hot metal interacts with various objects is often beyond our abilities to imagine without a handy visual aid, which is why RHNB videos on YouTube are so incredibly interesting. This time it’s gelatin getting the business end of some super-heated nickel.Jello is only marginally solid to begin with, so the application of large amounts of heat is bound to return it to its liquid state. Although, the way it goes down is a bit unexpected.The RHNB drops right through at first, burning a hole to the bottom of the container. Then the jello seems to be holding up rather well. It seems like the RHNB should have knocked the jiggly mass down immediately, right? When you think about the chemistry involved, it’s actually not as surprising as it seems.Gelatin is made from hydrolyzed collagen, an animal protein found in connective tissues. Heating gelatin while in solution causes it to form a large number of bonds. This is called a colloidal gel. Jello (or gelatin dessert, if you don’t want to infringe any trademarks) actually has a consistency similar to that of the original collagen. It’s not solid, but not liquid either. It takes time for the energy from the RHNB to break all those bonds, but it does.After a few seconds, the jello begins to fall apart, eventually becoming a soupy mess. RHNB wins again.last_img

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