Melbourne, May 10 : Ever wondered why honey sticks to your spoon when you take it out of the bottle? This is a question that has long been debated and now it seems scientists have reached a consensus, claiming everybody was right with their theory about the stickiness of the viscous fluid.
According to an international team of researchers, sugar molecules in honey move like how cars move in a traffic jam- molecules can change lane but cannot move forward very far.
Australian researcher Associate Professor Glenn Hefter of Murdoch University in Perth and colleagues have said that sugar molecules do and don't slow down the water molecules in this thick fluid, it depends on your perspective.
Basically, honey and other syrups are water containing high concentration of sugars and different scientists have different explanations for the stickiness of honey.
Chemist Dr Ian Larson of Monash University in Melbourne said that many researchers believe that such fluids are sticky because sugar molecules slow down the water molecules; however, others do not find any evidence to prove the same.
In order to explain this, scientists led by Hefter used salt in place of sugar, which behaves in a similar way but is easier to study.
They examined two types of water molecule movement: translational motion, or movement from A to B, and rotational motion, or spinning on an axis, and found that in syrup-like solutions, while the translational movement of water molecules is slowed down, rotational movement remains unaffected.
Larson compared this behaviour with cars in traffic jams, where they can change the lanes (rotational motion) but can't move forward (translational motion).
In fact, he said that the contradictory findings in previous research are not contradictory at all, because different researchers measure different kinds of water molecule movement.
"Depending on what type of experiment you do, you can either measure rotational motion or translational motion. Everybody's right," ABC Online quoted him, as saying. The study is published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.