Bubblegum, gubblebum, let’s talk about gum! But not in the candy way, the chemistry way!
Click here to read a cool post Angie made about gum. Apparently, chemists define gum as any thick substance that comes from a plant and consists of polysaccharides, which are multiple chains of sugar molecules. (Wow, chemists will eat anything, it appears)
“Gum arabic is used as a coating for self adhesive postage stamps, while gum tragacanth makes toothpaste come out of the tube. Guar gum is used to to stop ice crystals from forming in ice cream and chewing gum is made from chicle. “
Cool, right? Who knew gum had so many uses. Here’s something interesting: you know Chiclets? The candy coated little chewing gum pieces? Their name is derived from the substance chewing gum is originally made from, as Angie mentions.
Now that we’ve mentioned gum and toothpaste, here’s a question: why do Big Red chewing gum wrappers, Hot Tamales candies, Atomic Fire Balls, toothpastes, and mouthwashes burn your skin/mouth/etc? The answer lies in the bark of evergreen trees that are native to Sri Lanka, a tiny island just off the coast of India. These trees are used to make cinnamon and extract cinnamon oil. The main ingredient of the oil — and the one that produces a burning sensation — is called cinnamic aldehyde. Certain compounds like cinnamic aldehyde activate nerve sensors in our skin that detect cold. Your brain registers it as a burning sensation! For more information, check out this article: http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=1283