Weird Science: crazy colors in milk - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Weird Science: crazy colors in milk

WAIANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) - For this week's weird science experiment, Dr. V shows us what happens when we mix together food coloring, milk, and liquid detergent.

Dr. V Show: Crazy Colors in Milk


Things you need:

  • Whole milk
  • Food coloring
  • Dinner plate
  • Dishwashing liquid detergent
  • Cotton swab


The Experiment:

Pour milk onto the dinner plate so that the bottom is completely covered. Then add a drop of each food coloring, red, blue, green, and yellow, into the milk. Then dip the cotton swab into the dish detergent and place the tip into the milk. Be careful not to mix it. Leave the cotton swab in place for several seconds. You can try adding more detergent on the swab and touch the milk again.


So that's how it works…

Milk is an emulsion of fat globules in a water solution, as well as proteins, vitamins and minerals. Dish detergent is a surfactant, which means "surface acting agent," and has a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail. Two things are occurring when the detergent come into contact with the milk. One, the surface tension of the milk is disturbed, similar to water, breaking the cohesive bonds between the water molecules and driving the food coloring around. Two, the soap molecules come together to form micelles, or clusters of soap molecules. These micelles quickly distribute the fat in the milk. The food coloring allows us to see the molecules dancing around.


What happens if…

You use skim milk? Low-fat milk? Water?

Do different types of detergent make a difference?


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