June 25, 2020

White polar bear
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15 objects in our world that are white


Polar bear fur

Polar bear fur is made of clear hollow tubes. Those countless tubes cover a skin that is black. Yet, polar bear fur looks white.

Ice cubes

Ice cubes that are made in ice cube trays often have a disorganized white center. It is possible, though, to create perfectly clear ice cubes at home.

Hail

Have you ever seen hail that is colorless? Why is that, when hail is primarily frozen molecules of water pressed together?

Cumulonimbus cloud

Cumulonimbus clouds are those towering, thunderous, and ominous looking monsters. Capped with a mushroom or an anvil-shaped top that is pure white.

Wake of boats and ships

It is a given that boats, ships, jet-skis have a white tail. This is the foamy aerated water that is churned up as the boat makes it way forward.

Whipped egg white

Egg white proteins are translucent; however, when whipped they become pure white. 

Sea foam

The same concepts that creates foamy liquids creates sea foam. Except the foaming bubbles that are part of sea foam last much longer than those in a glass of soda. 

Beer head

The gas that produces the "head" in a pint of beer is carbon dioxide, though nitrogen is sometimes added to produce a longer lasting, less acidic taste. 

Tops of Clouds

The tops of clouds are the whitest. Take a look, sometime, at how pure white they can be.

Snow

Blinding white snow. As white as snow. A blanket of fresh white snow. Those images are clear in our mind's eye. And the reason snow is white is the same as why clouds are white or polar bear fur is white.

Soap bubbles

Even soap colored green will form white bubbles of soapy foam. One could have black soap and still the foam will be a pure white.

Crests of waves

Liquid water is white at the interfaces of water and air when there is turbulence.

Whitewater

Wave crests, breaking waves, waterfalls, the wake of ships and boats, river whitewater, water splashes, and water jets are all examples of turbulent water/air interfaces. 

Frothy saliva

It's not only dogs and cats that foam at the mouth. Even crabs - forcing air out of their gills - will produce foam when out of the water.

Ginger ale bubbles

It is not only air that creates a gas/liquid interface.  Shaking a can of soda will create a mass of white CO2 bubbles.

When is water white?


In the course when is water white, I will discuss different states of water that are white. Whitewater, ice cubes, snow, and clouds are all white for the same reason.


15 objects that are white..

In the course on White Color in Nature, you will learn why certain objects display a pure white color. There are slight variations why each of the 15 objects are pure white. However, the concept that underlies the whiteness is the same for all.

Picture Credits: 

  1. Better Than Bacon. Polar bear in California. Apparently their hairs aren't white, they're actually translucent but hollow to better insulate. Flickr photo-sharing; taken on Aug 4, 2007.
  2. Joao Alves. Clouds. Flickr photo-sharing, Taken on May 13, 2009.

About the author 

Juman Hijab

Juman has been in clinical practice as a physician for more than three decades. Her lifelong interest has been in the chemistry of life.



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