Gelatin Used for Drug Delivery

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In this activity, learners discover how gelatin can be used as a medium for drug delivery. Learners create colored gelatin and then cut out pieces of the gelatin to simulate medicine (pills). Learners then put their simulated pills in a pan of hot water. Since gelatin is a thermoreversible or cold-setting polymer, gelatin will convert back to a liquid if put in a hot environment. As the gelatin returns to its liquid form, it releases its embedded dye. The dye eventually diffuses completely out of the gelatin which simulates the slow release of a drug from a pill. From this activity, learners learn more about diffusion and drug delivery. Adult supervision recommended.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Knox Gelatin, 21-grams
  • Razor blade or other cutting implement
  • Food coloring (blue works best)
  • Distilled Water
  • Baking pan or similar container
  • Hot plate or microwave


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Polymer Science Learning Foundation, 2003