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what makes powders white?

powder chemistry medicine

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#1 eon

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:12 PM


is it simply coloring added to it? Why couldn't it be another color? Is it the same reason (or no reason) that most of a house's interior is in white (drywalls, etc.). Just a "standard" preference?

I was just curious why powders are usually white. From medicines to anything else that is in powder form. I'm not familiar with chemistry is why I ask this question. I'm sure before anything is "powdered" it had to be some form of liquid at some point, like powdered milk.

#2 Jeoshua

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:32 PM

White powder is just hard crystals of material too small to have any optical effects. You can get "rainbow" powders, too, if the powder is flaky, scaly, and of varying thickness.

The two most popular colors for powders are white and yellow, mainly because these are the colors our eyes will pick up on most readilly.
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#3 trance

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:19 PM

Any substance that reflects back most, or all, visible spectrum light to the human eye will appear as white.

This light activates all of the color sensing type cones in your eyes on equal levels, resulting in the perception of white in your brain.

Substances that absorb various visible light frequencies will be perceived as different colors depending on what light is absorbed and what is reflected back.

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#4 niner

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 10:07 PM

Most organic compounds of the sort that we consume don't absorb in the visible, so they're colorless. If you grew a very large crystal of these compounds, it would look like clear glass. When its ground into a powder, there is reflection and refraction happening in all different directions, so instead of looking clear it just looks white. There are a few compounds that we might use that are colored- methylene blue, curcumin, carotenoids, c60, iodine, nicotinamide riboside...
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#5 PWAIN

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 12:20 AM

Think of it like a sheet of glass. It starts off clear (like a crystal). Break it into pieces and start to crush it and it starts to look more and more white until as a fine powder it looks pure white. Same concept, different starting crystal.

#6 eon

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:13 AM

so what your saying is if i grind up a drinking glass (which is usually clear/see-through) it will turn to white dusts? I ask this because all my bulk powder supplements are all white. I was assuming the "industry standard" coloring for all these is white? Was some type of coloring even used? Who has an understanding of how supplements are made? Give an example how a vitamin C powder is made and why it is white.

Think of it like a sheet of glass. It starts off clear (like a crystal). Break it into pieces and start to crush it and it starts to look more and more white until as a fine powder it looks pure white. Same concept, different starting crystal.



#7 PWAIN

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:19 AM

Think of white sugar or salt. These are all clear crystals that are finely crushed. This causes the light to scatter in such a way that white light is reflected.

#8 eon

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:28 AM

what's the explanation for the "yellow" powder then? My idebenone powder is actually orange. Not sure if this was coloring then.

White powder is just hard crystals of material too small to have any optical effects. You can get "rainbow" powders, too, if the powder is flaky, scaly, and of varying thickness.

The two most popular colors for powders are white and yellow, mainly because these are the colors our eyes will pick up on most readilly.


OK. The PEA powder I have looks more crystal than powder (either way it's white). I guess this wasn't finely crushed then huh? But it's still white.

Think of white sugar or salt. These are all clear crystals that are finely crushed. This causes the light to scatter in such a way that white light is reflected.



#9 PWAIN

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:31 AM

Think about coloured crystals eg imagine crushing an emerald or sapphire. These would have the colour tint show through.

Sugar is more coarse than salt but still white. Different crystals will have different properties like how much they bend light and scatter it. This can also affect the end colour.

#10 eon

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:31 AM

what do you mean by color tint? It would look like emerald or sapphire, but tinted (so darker in appearance, not white)?

Think about coloured crystals eg imagine crushing an emerald or sapphire. These would have the colour tint show through.



#11 Jeoshua

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:59 PM

Crushed emeralds would be lighter green, due to the abundance of scattered light. Think of the shiny part of an emerald, it's sheen. Now imagine that glow was spread out throughout the entirety of all the tiny dust particles of the crushed emeralds. That's the color of crushed emerald. Also, this:

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#12 niner

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:01 PM

what do you mean by color tint? It would look like emerald or sapphire, but tinted (so darker in appearance, not white)?


White light is a mixture of all the colors of the rainbow.

If you crush a red crystal, you will get a red powder.
If you crush an orange crystal, you will get an orange powder.
If you crush a yellow crystal, you will get a yellow powder.
If you crush a green crystal, you will get a green powder.

et cetera.

Almost all pure compounds form crystals, and light can penetrate them to a greater or lesser degree without being scattered. In other words, they are "clear", meaning transparent. "Clear" is not the same thing as "colorless". If some frequencies of light are absorbed more than others, the crystal will have a color, but still be transparent. Example: "A clear, red crystal." Although the light passes through these crystals, it will almost always be bent at the edge of the crystal where it passes from air to the crystalline substance. Since all the photons are bent in the same direction, the image we see through it is not distorted. When you are looking at a pile of millions of tiny crystals, the light is bent in a different direction by each of them, since they are lying in different orientations. If the crystals are colorless, then the light that you see is a mixture of all frequencies, so it looks white.

#13 eon

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:43 AM

what makes some of these powders have similar taste like dmae and alcar and vitamin C powders all have that citric taste to it? Is citric acid the base of it?

#14 niner

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 01:04 PM

what makes some of these powders have similar taste like dmae and alcar and vitamin C powders all have that citric taste to it? Is citric acid the base of it?


Acids taste sour, and vitamin C and citric acids are both hydroxy acids, so that probably explains their similar taste. If the DMAE is in the salt form (hydrochloride would be typical) then it too is acidic in water, (though not technically an acid), and it also has one hydroxyl group. If it's in the free base form, I don't know why it would taste like citric acid. Alcar can break down into carnitine and acetic acid, so you might be tasting a bit of acetic acid, but it might have something to do with the structure of carnitine itself, which is also a hydroxy acid.

#15 eon

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:04 PM

OK that's a good explanation. Not sure if all these acids are bad for the teeth as someone mentioned regarding vitamin C powders. I usually put the powders on my tongue and swallow, it rarely touches the teeth but when it does my teeth does have some weird feel to it when touching my teeth with my tongue. Not sure if this is the acidity that is supposed to be bad for teeth.

#16 Jeoshua

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 12:44 AM

Nearly all acids are bad for the teeth. Your teeth are made of basic calcium compounds, acids break down bases and vice versa. It will basically acid-etch your teeth. You can get over that by mixing powders in with lots of water, which neutralizes the PH pretty well. Taking a pure acid powder raw is not recommended, since the little amount of water in your mouth plus an acidic powder can make a very strong acid.

Adding a base to that acidic water can neutralize it further, but can also cause a reaction with the supplement, and may denature it in some cases.

Edited by Jeoshua, 18 March 2014 - 12:45 AM.


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#17 SIRT1

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Posted 25 November 2014 - 09:05 AM

EDIT: retracted the post -  niner already covered it..


Edited by SIRT1, 25 November 2014 - 09:11 AM.






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