Login

Join for Free!
119317 members


lipid optics

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

Moderator: BioTeam

lipid optics

Postby dae » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:51 am

I know this question is out of place but I haven't gotten any answers elsewhere and there are typically highly informed people on this board; thanks for indulging me.

I was having a glass of wine over candlelight and I noticed that the liquid wax was completely transparent but turned opaque when when the wax solidified. Why does this happen? Clearly, when the molecules reorganize during the freezing phase transition they begin to interact with the light. What intermolecular changes bring this about?

I know this can also happen with water but I'm not sure it's for the same reason because the most organized ice is clear. Only when the crystalline structure is disturbed (the ice is fractured, aerated, etc.) does the solid water become opaque. So it seems that the transparent liquid to opaque solid transition in water is due to repeated diffraction and scattering, leading to reflection. The same thing has to be happening in the wax but I can't figure out molecularly how the phase would effect this.

I froze some cooking oil (sesame seed) and found that the same phenomenon occurred, which leads me to suspect that it has to do with the ordering of the aliphatic hydrocarbon tails. Any thoughts?
dae
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 4:42 am

Postby mith » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:52 am

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
~Niebuhr
User avatar
mith
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5345
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:14 pm
Location: Nashville, TN


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests