Sweet! Exploring Surface Area of Sugar Molecules

by: M. Gail Jones, Amy R. Taylor, and Michael R. Falvo

Two forces that are very familiar to us in our daily lives are gravity and adhesion. The force of gravity on an object, which we commonly refer to as the object’s weight, is proportional to the volume of the object. Adhesion or stickiness, on the other hand, is a surface effect. As objects become smaller, the surface-to-volume ratio increases, changing the relative strengths of these two common forces. At the very small scales, such as the micro- (cells) or nanoscales (molecules), the stickiness property completely dominates. This activity demonstrates a crossover point from the dominance of gravity for big objects (sugar cubes) to the dominance of adhesion for smaller objects (powdered sugar grains).


Type Book ChapterPub Date 4/1/2009Stock # PB237X_16

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