Chemistry of tofu making

infographic, educational game / Infografik, didatisches Spiel

The chemical transformation

Chemistry plays an essential role in tofu making. Adding a strong acid like vinegar or base like Nigari turns cooked soy milk into solids. The so-called denaturation of protein refers to the transformation, when the tiny protein molecules unfold, interact and stick together.

But how can we visualize this process for people who have no clue about chemistry?

Chemie spielt eine zentrale Rolle in der Tofu-Herstellung. Die Zugabe einer starken Säure oder Lauge führt dazu, dass die gekochte Sojamilch ausflockt. Die sogenannte Proteindenaturierung beschreibt den Prozess, wenn sich die Proteinmoleküle entfalten, miteinander interagieren und aneinander haften.
Aber wie erklären diese chemische Reaktion Menschen, die keine Ahnung von Chemie haben?

Our approach

After reviewing scientific articles tofu-making we consulted a friend who is biochemist. She walked us through the underlaying chemical reaction to give us a better understanding of it. The scribble above was one of the notes we took during the sessions with her.
Back in the studio we tried out several visualisation possibilities like hand-drawing, but decided to build a model with ropes and masking tapes.
Every rope stands for a single protein molecule. And the blue and orange areas represent the different regions of it. By doing so, we are able to reproduce how the protein molecules interact over time.

Simply Science

This work is a example how we explain science to beginners by reconnecting it to everyday experiences. Our approach is applicable to a wide range of usage, such as digital or printed infographics, animation and interactive events.