Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Sweet, Sweet Science

Scientists are studying how candy crystalizes as a way of learning more about crystallization in general.
February 1, 2019
Close-up of a red M&M broken into several pieces.

M&M’S® might see a process improvement for making its candy shell.

“By studying sucrose crystallization, we’ll learn things that we can apply to other materials more central to the Laboratory’s mission.” - Anthony Redondo, Feynman Center for Innovation

The way a compound crystallizes affects the performance of the final material. Los Alamos scientists use super-computer simulations to study various chemical processes, including the formation of crystals from solution. In a partnership between the Laboratory and Mars, Incorporated, the company that produces M&M’S® and Skittles®, scientists are learning how to optimize the production process for these sweets’ characteristic candy shell. By modeling crystallization processes, researchers can learn more about the composite compounds used to make stronger materials, and the crystalline materials used to make things like quantum dots and solar cells.


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