Frozen Jelly

Stay chill… with jelly?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Hot day at the beach? Storing food for a long car trip? Bring plenty of ICE! 

But ice isn’t always sustainable or sanitary. It’s difficult to collect meltwater to make more ice. And, when ice melts, it can spread contaminants. Ick! Wouldn’t it be COOL if there was something even BETTER?

Enter Jiahan Zou and her team of researchers at UC Davis. 

Zou had a n-ICE solution. Gelatin – the thing that gives jello its jiggle! Specifically, Zou created a NEW kind of ice cube — using gelatin and water. 

This water-gelatin team is known as a hydrogel. Gelatin gives the hydrogel strength and shape. While water absorbs heat, keeping everything nice and cool. 

The team tested different ratios of gelatin and water. The winning recipe? Cubes with ten percent gelatin were…. a perfect ten! 

Even better? These jelly ice cubes can be reused over and over again! Cleaner AND more sustainable!

The jelly ice cube – staying chill, under pressure!

Reference: Zou, J., Wang, L., & Sun, G. (2021). Sustainable and Reusable Gelatin-Based Hydrogel “Jelly Ice Cubes” as Food Coolant. I: Feasibilities and Challenges. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 9(46), 15357–15364.