Sunday, January 17, 2010

Totally Irresponsible Martin Luther King Day

Call it an impulse purchase, but a few months ago I couldn't pass up "The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science." It was calling my name. Literally.
Although all of the experiments haven't worked perfectly for me (c'mon, I burned through about 2 dozen tea bags and nearly set off the smoke alarm for trying to make the hot air balloon) but one experiment was way too fun.
So if you're home on this Martin Luther King Day with kids driving you batty, here's a disgustingly fun way to amuse yourselves and pass the time.
Turning milk to stone.
(I would post a photo, but my camera is having some charge issues.)

YOU NEED:
1 1/2 cups skim milk
microwave safe mixing bowl
4 teaspoons vinegar
microwave
strainer

YOU DO:
1. Mix milk and vinegar in bowl.
2. Microwave on high for 60 seconds.
3. You'll notice that the liquids and the solids have separated. Pour through the strainer.
4. Let the solids cool just a little until you can touch them, and then mold them into little shapes. They'll harden as they cool. Which is pretty cool.

The book says that the protein in the curd (the solid part) accounts for its rubbery quality. It adds that some of the earliest plastics were produced in a variation of this experiment. Imagine the stink in that laboratory!

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