Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sugar chemistry is awesome.

I was helping somebody with their Media Lab project, which was building Building 10 with gingerbread. Also, for the project, we needed to make sugar glass. Sugar glass is made from mixing water, sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar, then bringing that to a boil. At certain different temperatures, the sugar water has different properties, based on the amount of water left. For sugar glass, we needed it to be hard, so we had to bring it up to 300 degrees F. That's the "hard crack" stage (a ball of the sugar water, when dropped in cold water, crystallizes and becomes brittle, used for toffee and lollipops). And. It. Is. Awesome. Behold.
Sharp as hell, too. Apparently, it's used in theater/cinema, since it breaks more readily than glass and is less sharp than broken glass, so the actors don't get hurt.

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