I’m taking a class on X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). We get to use a very cool XRD machine that can be used to identify minerals in samples (and other things). For next week we have to bring in some common household product and find out what minerals are in it. Most of the suggested items are things like makeup, abrasive cleaners, and toothpaste.
I’m interested in two things.
The first are McDonald Milkshakes. There is a legend amongst geologists (which isn’t too far fetched) that McDonald’s put Kaolinite (clay) in their shakes as a thickening agent. If you look on the list of ingredients for a milkshake, you will not find Kaolinite listed. This is because kaolinite is an inorganic compound which is considered by the FDA to be a “Generally Regarded As Safe” (GARS) product. This classification of food additives do not have to be listed on the list of ingredients for food. In a previous class, someone tried to find kaolinite in a shake, but it took an extremely long time to filter the shake, and they didn’t find anything. It could be that they filtered all the kaolnite out.
You can’t just analyze the raw shake because the sugar can crystalize and give you messy data. I’m planning to just bake or burn the shake, turn the sugar to an amorphus solid, and then test to see if kaolinite or some other silicate which was created from the baking is still there.
The internet needs to know this.
The other thing I’m interested in is Sea Salt. People who love organic food fawn all over sea salt. I guess because its “natural” (like any other form of NaCl isn’t). Anyway, there is a lot of crap in sea water. Natural crap like sulfides. It would be interesting to find out what else is in sea salt and what else people who buy it are eating. I’m sure its not enough to be at any harmful level, but it still would be interesting.
Science marches forward. The Internet needs to know.
After doing some preliminary research into this, the actual stuff they put in a shake is far better, from a sensationalism stand point, than just plain old clay 🙂