Water isn’t sticky, and sugar on its own isn’t sticky either. So why is syrup—a heated, melty combination of water and sugar—so very, very sticky? Emily Elert of MinuteEarth explains the sticky molecular structures of water and sugar, and why they become thick and viscous when they come together as syrups, molasses, caramels, and other sugary liquids.

Related reading: The Exploratorium’s Science of Candy.

Related videos include Sugar: Hiding in plain sight, How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating? and What Causes Cavities?

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