Tuesday, August 6, 2013

5 Days of Fun Farm Science: Milk Fat Trick

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Here at our house we enjoy lot of good farm fresh milk with all the cream. We even regularly visit the farm where we pick up our milk, and recently had the chance to admire a sweet new jersey calf.

This fun science experiment uses milk to show how soap molecules work. It works especially well with full fat milk, which is what we get when we shake up a fresh jug of farm fresh milk. :)

Because we learned that:
Soap is actually a very long molecule that has one hydrophillic end and one hydrophobic end. The water sticks/bonds with the hydrophillic end and the oil sticks/bonds to the hydrophobic end. Two opposing molecules with the soap in the middle. -About.com
... we found a fun experiment via Supercharged Science that illustrates this action. Here's our version of what we did. (you know we had to tweak it!)

Materials used:
  • whole milk 
  • water mixed with cornstarch (about 1/2 tbs to 1 cup)
  • food dye
  • bowls
  • liquid soap
In one bowl we had whole milk, and in the other bowl we put the corn starch mixture (which is milky, but has no fat or oils). We added the food coloring and then a small drop of soap. It was amazing to watch the swirls of color as the soap molecule was "searching for fats" with one end and "searching for water" with the other. It continued to swirl for quite a while. The corn starch only swirled for a second or two from the disturbance. There was no fat to "chase". It was fun to come back later and add one more drop of soap. The  burst of color swirls started all over in the milk! No reaction in the other bowl.

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