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Gel

A piece of colored plastic used on lights. Gels allow light to pass through while changing the color tone of the light itself.

A piece of colored plastic used on lights. Gels allow light to pass through while changing the color tone of the light itself.

A gel is a solid jelly-like soft material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state. By weight, gels are mostly liquid, yet they behave like solids due to a three-dimensional cross-linked network within the liquid. It is the crosslinking within the fluid that gives a gel its structure (hardness) and contributes to the adhesive stick (tack). In this way gels are a dispersion of molecules of a liquid within a solid in which liquid particles are dispersed in the solid medium . The word gel was coined by 19th-century Scottish chemist Thomas Graham by clipping from gelatine.

Gels consist of a solid three-dimensional network that spans the volume of a liquid medium and ensnares it through surface tension effects. This internal network structure may result from physical bonds (physical gels) or chemical bonds (chemical gels), as well as crystallites or other junctions that remain intact within the extending fluid. Virtually any fluid can be used as an extender including water (hydrogels), oil, and air (aerogel). Both by weight and volume, gels are mostly fluid in composition and thus exhibit densities similar to those of their constituent liquids. Edible jelly is a common example of a hydrogel and has approximately the density of water.

Key Terms

color tone
fluid
gel
gels
light
lights
liquid
piece colored plastic
volume
weight

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Acronymn

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Synonymns

Gel
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Last modified on May 27 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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