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Author Topic: Is it true that only one atom will convert margarine into plastic?  (Read 40614 times)

Offline miriam0920

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I heard that the formula for margarine is one atom away of being converted to plastic.
I've also heard that if left outside for a week margarine will not be disturbed by insects, not
even flies. Is this true or fiction? 


Marianne


 

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"I heard that the formula for margarine is one atom away of being converted to plastic. "
A matter of definition. If, by "plastic" you mean a polyolefin like polythene then it's true that the the plastic contains carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms, whereas the margarine has carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
However, there are other plastics- like perspex, PET, or cellulose acetate that also contain oxygen.

There is certainly no way that you could take a fat molecule from margarine, change just one atom, and turn it into a molecule of any recognised plastic.
From that point of view the assertion is simply false.

As for the flies' opinion of it, I simply don't know- though it wouldn't be a difficult experiment.
 

Offline miriam0920

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Thank you for your clarification.  Maybe when Im more into chemistry I will see what you mean.
 

Offline miriam0920

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What is the chemical formula for Margarine and what is the chemical formula for Butter.  I want to know which cooking oil is totally trans fat free.
thanks.


 

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Both butter and margarine are very complicated mixtures (and they vary between brands too) so they don't have a chemical formula.

I think most vegeatble oils are free (or very nearly free) of trans fats. Even animal fats have relatively little trans fat (though the saturated fat levels can be high).
Only oils that are treated by hydrogenation are likely to have much trans fat in them.
 

Offline miriam0920

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Trans Fat has been officially banned from New York City's restaurants.  Labels on food now say if they have some trans fat in it.  But what really is trans fat?  We know it's not saturated fat found in animals.  Where does this trans fat come from?  I once was told that this kind of fat was something men made and that the body  did not recognized this kind of fat, thus when indigested it cause many health problems as cellulite and clog arteries.  What is your opinion?

Mirim
 

Offline Karen W.

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I am setting some margarine outside right now!
My worry is that the heat of the day will hamper the experiment!
I will take pictures..
 

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You might want to put some butter out too as a comparisson.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Good Idea.. I will find a shady spot as its hot outside!
 

Offline Karen W.

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Ok its on my porch in a planter where there is no shortage of insects.. but out of reach of dogs cats etc..Here is the picture.. it is 3:00 Pm on sept. 2nd 2007 we will check it again periodically for 1 week!



 

Offline wolfekeeper

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You'd probably have to protect it from birds. They usually like fatty foods as they are high energy, and flying is a high energy activity!
 

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It's had more than the week specified in the original post, how's the experiment going?
 

Offline DiscreteGenius

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Wow, I really want to know the results. 
 

Offline CliffordK

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I heard that the formula for margarine is one atom away of being converted to plastic.
Both butter and margarine are very complicated mixtures (and they vary between brands too) so they don't have a chemical formula.
The primary constituent in both vegetable oil and butter would be triglycerides.  Which, of course, is not a single molecule, but rather 3 fatty acids hanging off of a glycerin backbone, with many different combinations possible.


Margarine, of course, has a number of other ingredients added to make it more solid, as well as modifying the flavor.

There are a wide variety of plastics available, usually polymers of simple repeating organic compounds.

One might first look at what is currently being used to make Bioplastic

Most of them seem to be made out of either starch or cellulose.  One can also make the polyethylene bioplastic out of ethanol.  I'm having troubles finding exactly what PA-11 is.

Anyway, the basic elements are the same in oil and plastic, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc. 

If one could polymerize triglycerides, or fatty acids, one might be able to make a macro-molecule that was big enough that it would behave like plastic.

Simply removing the oxygen from triglycerides, but keeping the same general structure might also give plastic-like properties, but that wouldn't be simple to do.
 

Offline kilgorethecat

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I have a feeling someone got in trouble with their mom for leaving giant chunks of butter outside.
 

Offline DiscreteGenius

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@kilgorethecat: The handwriting doesn't look like a teenagers writing but I could be wrong.  And she finished the experiment but forgot to post the results --seeing that the experiment was a year long-- but she is locating the photos and going to post soon I think.
 

Offline Geezer

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@kilgorethecat: The handwriting doesn't look like a teenagers writing but I could be wrong.  And she finished the experiment but forgot to post the results --seeing that the experiment was a year long-- but she is locating the photos and going to post soon I think.

If you adjust your "Look and Layout Preferences", you might be able to see Karen's piccy.
 

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