The Chemistry of Jello

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During the duration of the year I will be researching the chemistry of Jello, Jello is a flavored Gelatin, which is an edible flimsy solid.  Some of the flavors include apricot, strawberry, watermelon, lime, green apple, orange, peach, and wild cherry.  I chose to find the chemistry of Jello because I find it fascinating how the gelatin goes from a liquid to a solid in the matter of hours.  I am affected by jello because it has become an all American dessert. It is one of the most popular and well know desserts in America.

Composition of ...
Sugar, Gelatin, Adipic Acid, Artificial Flavor, Disodium Phosphate
and Sodium Citrate, Fumaric Acid, Red 40.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Jello is made of gelatin, which is made of collagen. Collagen doesn't dissolve in water in its natural form, so it must be modified to make gelatin. Manufacturers grind the body parts cattle and treat them with either a strong acid or a strong base to dissolve the collagen. Then the pretreated material is boiled. Controls at every step of the process ensure purity and safety. The materials are washed and filtered repeatedly. During this process, the large collagen protein ends up being partially broken down; the resulting product is a gelatin solution. That solution is chilled into a jelly-like material, cut and dried in a special chamber. At this point, the dried gelatin -- about 10 percent water -- is ground. If it's going to make Jell-O, it will be ground into a fine powder.

When making Jell-O at home, Jell-o powder is placed into boiling water. The boiling water breaks down the bonds that hold the collagen together. When the Jell-O cools between the amino acids, color and flavoring become trapped between the bond as the bonds strengthen. Why does the Jell-O jiggle? Jello is and amorphous solid. The arrangement of the molecules is not periodic, so the liquid is trapped the the chains.


About the Author

Deianeira Moore is a 16 year old Junior at Billings Senior High. She enjoys cheerleading, attending youth group, singing, and working. She loves to go to school, and plans on going to college for education, at Montana State University - Bozeman.