Art

The Colorful Dissolution of Candies

Many solids can dissolve in liquids like water, and while this is often treated as a matter of chemistry, fluid dynamics can play a role as well. As seen in this video by Beauty of Science, the dissolving candy coating of an M&M spreads outward from the candy. This is likely surface-tension-driven; as the coating dissolves, it changes the surface tension near the candy and flow starts moving away thanks to the Marangoni effect. With multiple candies dissolving near one another, these outward flows interfere and create more complex flow patterns. 

These flows directly affect the dissolving process by altering flow near the candy surface, which may increase the rate of dissolution by scouring away loose coating. They can also change the concentration of dissolved coating in different areas, which then feeds back to the flow by changing the surface tension gradient. (Video and image credit: Beauty of Science)

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