A Natural Polymer that you use
What is gelatin used for?
binders for paper money
- bonding for the tip of matches
- bakery products
- photographic film
- whipping agent in dairy products
- medicine emulsions
- hardening of jams and jellies
- treatment of wounds as a sponge
What is this natural polymer anyway?
Basically it is a protein substance obtained from the boiling of bones and connective tissue. But where does the raw material for gelatin come from ???? You guessed it! The meat industry where all that's left but the moo is converted to gelatin. The end result is a pale yellow, dry powder. The powder is about 85% protein, 13% water, and 2% mineral salts. It is free of additives and preservatives. Gelatin contains about 18 different amino acids joined together in a chain. Eventually a triple helix (or triple spiral) is the complex molecule that gives the polymer its unique ability to "gel" things.
Here's a question for you: What is the main polymer in gelatin? (Hint: see the page on proteins. Click here for the answer.
History of this great polymer:
Gelatin substances were first made during the fourteenth century.
People in France used it as a source of protein during the English blockade in the war with Napoleon.
This first record of man making gelatin was about 1680 when a Frenchman,
Papin, cooked some bones and found that the extract solidified.
The word "gelatin" is from Latin "gelatus" meaning stiff or frozen.
The first patent was issued in 1754 in England for the manufacture of gelatin. The commercial production of gelatin began in the 1950's.
Activities using gelatin
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Polymer Science Learning Center
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