Arizonans like to try different experiments when the summer time heat rolls into town, experiments like frying an egg on the sidewalk and baking cookies in the car windshield. Our Arizona Science Center team changed it up with an experiment Friday, June 28 to see which would melt first in near-120 degree Arizona heat: Ring Pops, M&Ms or Crayons. Which do you think melted first?
More than 1,000 people chimed in on our Facebook page with their guesses. Those that guessed the crayons were right. In fact, the board containing the three items was set outside all weekend and the crayons were the only things that completely melted at all!
The M&Ms’ chocolate filling melted, but the hard coated shell kept the candy’s shape. The Ring Pops changed color, distorted and became sticky, but did not melt.
Through our research, we found that the basic ingredients in crayons are paraffin wax and color pigment. These ingredients begin to soften at around 105 degrees and have a melting point between 120-150 degrees. As many parents who have found melted crayons in the backseat of the car know, they melt fairly quickly in high temperatures.
What about the M&Ms? Apparently, the amylase in our saliva breaks down the shells of the M&Ms allowing the chocolate to melt in our mouths (not our hands). We couldn’t find any scientific data on the melting point of Ring Pops. What do you think – why did the Ring Pops not melt in the extreme heat?