Challenger Learning Center: Milk Sculptures

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Kirsten Hibbard is back with another Challenger Learning Center experiment. Today we are building our own milk sculptures.

All you need is milk and vinegar. Warm a cup of milk in microwave safe bowl for 5 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons of vinegar to the milk and stir. After stirring, pour the contents of the bowl through a strainer to separate the curds and whey. Once the curds are warm to the touch, start to kneed the solid into a ball. Now you will be able to form the mixture into any sculpture you want. Leave the creation on a plate for 48 hours to harden.

The science:

Adding the vinegar to the milk changes the milks acidity. This causes the casein molecules in milk to unfold and reorganize into a long chain. This solid is know as Milk plastic or casein plastic, which is created by changing the pH of milk. This was commonly used in the 1900's.

Coming up at the Challenger Learning Center:

Challenger's February Vacation Camp is open for registration. Camp runs from Feb. 19th- 23rd and is open for grades K-5. Sign up now at astronaut.org.