Fresh off the virtual press, Aaron (Year 12) delves into the intricate science behind everyone's favourite frozen delight, ice cream, in the latest article featured in our pupil-led scientific magazine Atomic.
The Chemistry of Ice Cream: Achieving the Perfect Scoop with Molecular Precision
Authored by Aaron (Year 12)
Ice cream: the sweet treat that we all love. Behind this sweet treat lies a fascinating world that bridges the gap between molecular chemistry and ice cream. There are four main components that go into the making of this treat:
The fat used in the making of ice cream, consists mainly of triglycerides (molecules consisting of glycerol and three fatty acids, hence ‘tri’) of which its chemical composition is very important, as fat content is used to determine the precise melting point of the ice cream . This is because we don’t want our ice cream to melt straight away, but we also want it to be soft enough to eat. The same goes for ice creams that use vegan ingredients such as those without dairy, and have replacement oils such as coconut oil which possess similar melting points to that of either cream or dairy, allowing for them to be suitable substitutes (cont.)
Before freezers were invented, ice cream was made using natural ice and snow mixed with a variety of ingredients, but after the discovery of what is called the “freezing point-depression’ it revolutionised ice cream making allowing for the liquid base to freeze to a solid, again giving us that perfect set up for a scoop.