Why does paper become translucent when exposed to oil?

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Drew Gilmore

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Drew Gilmore asked the Naked Scientists:

Why does paper become translucent when it comes into contact with oil or grease? Such as when you put pizza on a paper napkin you can see through the paper where the pizza grease was absorbed by the paper.

What do you think?

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Offline Bored chemist

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Why does paper become translucent when exposed to oil?
« Reply #1 on: 11/11/2008 20:23:03 »
The oil fills in the gaps between the fibres in the paper.
The rest of the answer is a bit like the explanation of why snow is white, even though it's made of ice which is transparent.
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=7281.msg76594#msg76594
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