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Planet Earth

That Word You Heard: Thixotropic

It all comes together once you shake it.

By Lacy SchleyJune 12, 2018 5:00 AM
Illustration by Chad Edwards


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Ketchup fan? Then you know you’ve got to shake that bottle of your favorite brand before you squeeze it onto your food of choice. Otherwise, you’ll be met with a watery mess followed by some gunky globs. That’s because ketchup — along with a whole host of other substances ranging from clay face masks to printing inks — is thixotropic. When it sits too long, lonely and unused on a diner table or in the dark abyss that is your refrigerator, the concoction separates and the tomato-y part thickens up, becoming more viscous. But when you shake it, everything mixes back up, thins out, and you’re good to go.

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