How to unboil an egg?

Step one: Boil your egg

Prior to heating, egg whites consist of a lot of proteins that are all folded up in precise knot-like structures held together by weak chemical bonds. By boiling your egg, you’re subjecting those neatly folded proteins to a lot of thermal energy, which breaks apart those weak bonds.

This gives the proteins freedom to move around, bump up against their neighbouring proteins, and form brand new weak bonds in new places.

As more and more of these new bonds are formed, the movements of those proteins become restricted, and the egg white gels into a solid tangled mass: a boiled egg.

Step 2: Add some water and urea

Next, you will need to transform that solid mass back into a mostly-liquid form. Chop up the egg whites, add some urea (which just happens to be a chemical found in urine, so these may not be very tasty eggs any more), and dissolve them in water.

The urea helps to liquefy the solid egg whites and break down some of the bonds between the proteins.

You’ve broken your clumped-together proteins apart—but those proteins still haven’t been able to re-fold into their original shapes yet.

Step 3: Spin it really, really fast

Load your wet, eggy mixture into the Vortex Fluidic Device and spin it at a speed of 5000 rotations per minute. This flings all that liquid to the sides of the glass tube at such great force, it spreads out into a very thin layer.

The part of the solution that is closest to the wall spins faster than the solution that is closer to the middle.

This difference in velocity between the different components of the solution creates shear stresses, causing those proteins to repeatedly stretch and contract, like pulling on a rubber band, until they re-form into their original pre-boiled shapes.


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