Why does coconut oil solidify into a hexagonal pattern

Probably got some honey in it.

Generational curiosity - this is what I say to my dad!

Bees. Next question.

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Yes, but how? My very limited experience with hexane (used as a cleaner and degreaser of old mechanical bits while disassembling broken old photo cameras and trying, with mediocre amounts of success, to assemble them better than before) just taught me that 1) it’s very good at this 2) dries super fast and 3) should be treated with some caution.

Chemistry nerds (you know who you are): Is there a “4) imbues literal hex magic properties to anything it touches” I’m missing?

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The shapes in the oil are hexagonal, but i think that is coincidental? The hex in hexane comes from the molecular structure not the crystallization.

I suggested it because it is the most common extraction solvent used for commercial food oils, including coconut, and yes it is highly toxic, and yes some remains in the oil after extraction, and no it doesn’t have to be labeled in the USA. It certainly would affect the cooling/solidification of the oil, it is just a guess that this is the cause though.

Large distributors like whole foods (which this sample is) are buying bulk lots of oil and packaging them. Since this specific oil isn’t “virgin” and is extra “refined” to be odorless and tasteless, my guess is that it is a hexane extracted oil. Most coconut, soy, canola, etc are hexane extracted unless they say otherwise, or are labeled virgin.

[quote]Hexane is the dominate extraction solvent for oil seeds throughout the world. Hexane is cheap and abundant, as it is a petroleum product and is produced during the production of gasoline. The combination of extremely large availability, very low cost, and simple effectiveness have led to hexane’s popularity. However, this has come at a cost to the consumers and the environment.

Hexane has been categorized as a hazardous air pollutant (HAP) by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and is included on the agency’s list of toxic chemicals (Inform, Vol. 9, No.7, July 1998:p 708.) By inherent design, even the newest oil processing facilities lose hexane into the environment. It has been estimated that an average sized soybean facility loses 6,000 pounds of hexane per day to the environment through atmospheric leaks. At this rate, an average oil producing facility would release one tanker truck (40,000 pounds) of hexane into the environment every week.

In addition, some residual hexane remains in the oil and meal (residues remaining from extraction that are used as animal feeds). Hexane residues can run as high as 0.5% in meal, high enough to kill baby piglets. Hexane forms an extremely strong bond with certain protein. Therefore, hexane released during digestion is free to bond with proteins and other hydrophobic molecules in the body, a phenomenon supported by over 30 years of research. A scientific study of six hexane-extracted cooking oils found higher than expected levels of pentane, hexane, heptane, octane and benzene derivatives in all the oils. This means that humans and livestock may be ingesting greater amounts of petroleum derivatives than previously thought through hexane-extracted oils and meal.[/quote]

BUT this is all just a guess on my part.

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