Some of the most interesting chemistry experiments that you can do at home revolves around food. Food chemistry projects are not just related to science fairs for kids, rather it has reached new heights through molecular gastronomy. The use of food in a way that is unique and which explores the relationship between food and chemistry, is what food chemistry is all about. How various foods react with each other and how acids and alkalies found in food produce unique effects are some of the things that we learn through these projects. Here we are going to give you some ideas about food chemistry projects that you can perform at home using ingredients in your kitchen.
Projects in Food Chemistry
Given below are some fun food chemistry science projects that you can do at home. Some of these food chemistry experiments might require additional materials like liquid nitrogen, calcium chloride, xanthan gum and agar agar.
We all know that caviar is highly expensive fish roe and is either orange, gray and black in color. Through this food chemistry project, you can proceed to make green colored caviar using a process known as spherification.
In spherification a small amount of liquid is held together in the shape of a sphere by enclosing it in a gelatinous membrane. For this beautiful experiment, you will need green apples, sodium alginate, calcium chloride and sodium citrate. First juice the apples in a juicer and strain the juice so that any solid particles are removed. Add sodium citrate and sodium alginate into the juice in equal quantities.
Prepare a water bath by placing a container of water inside a moderately hot oven and add calcium chloride to it. Take a small syringe and draw the green apple juice mixture into the syringe. Drop three to four drops of the apple juice mixture in the water bath and instantly you will see liquid spheres forming which are green in color. Presto! Your green caviar is ready. Scoop the spheres out carefully from the water and place them in a plate.
Now let us discuss the chemistry behind this experiment. The alginate added to the apple juice, reacts with the calcium chloride in the water bath. The calcium chloride ions reacts with the alginate and the alginate polymers are cross linked to form a gel in the shape of a droplet or sphere. The outer surface of the liquid which first comes in contact with the calcium chloride ions, reacts to form a thin membrane that encloses the liquid drop.
Diet Soda and Mentos Volcano
For this food chemistry project, you will need a 2 liter bottle of diet soda and mint mentos candy. Place the bottle of diet can over some newspapers that has been laid down on the ground. Now unscrew the cap of the coke and add a few mint mentos candy. You will immediately see an explosion of coke that resembles a volcano. This homemade volcano science project should preferably be done outdoors as the mess produced from this man-made volcanic eruption is pretty hard to clean.
Let us now look at the science behind this explosion. As you know diet coke consists of sugar, water and carbon dioxide gas that is pumped inside the bottle with great pressure. As the carbon dioxide is pumped in the bottle and the bottle is capped, the carbon dioxide gas remains suspended in the water under great tension. The natural tendency of this suspended gas is to escape from the liquid.
But the water molecules in the coke form a tight mesh around the carbon dioxide gas, not allowing it to escape. For the gas to expand or form a bubble, the water molecules have to be agitated or be pushed away from each other. But water molecules resist any expansion because of a phenomenon known as surface tension. As soon as you drop a mint candy which is composed of gelatin and gum it breaks the surface tension of the liquid, allowing bubbles to form and the gas to expand and escape.
There are many other science fair projects that revolves around food. Food experiments are a lot of fun and is a good way to learn about food chemistry.