Chemistry Question #1462

Base, a 25 year old male from Ontario asks on June 5, 2003,

Why is vegetable oil viscous?

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The answer

Reg Mitchell answered on July 1, 2003

The typical vegetable oil molecule is large enough to be a solid, however because of the three long arms, which get twisted around, it is difficult to make a nice crystal lattice. So vegetable oil acts like a solid that has partly melted, and is viscous because the molecules can't move around each other easily like a small molecule can.

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