Are they physically different? If so, what is the difference, between a gel and gelatine, or it's proccesses gelation and gelling (gelatinization. gelatinisation)?

  • P.S: The tags gelatin and gelling-agents have no wiki information, so I couldn't get anything from them.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 8:47
  • I got this doubt when first reading about starch gelatinization (or is it gelation?) in bread. And got it again when writing this answer.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 8:51
  • if it's an issue of definition, it sounds like a good question for the English Language and Usage site on SE! english.stackexchange.com Nov 19, 2012 at 18:52
  • @KristinaLopez I'm meaning the physical differences. Knowing it would help me choosing the right term. Thank you for pointing it; I'll edit the question to clarity it.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 19:01
  • Are you wondering about gelling, as in turning to gooey consistency, or jelling, as in solidifying? Nov 19, 2012 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


A gel is any liquid (usually) or gaseous medium suspended in a solid three-dimensional mesh which entraps the medium so that it does not flow.

By way of (somewhat flawed analogy) think of a giant role of bubble wrap. Its mostly air. But the plastic keeps the air from flowing at a large scale.

Gels can range from very soft to very hard. New modern aero-gels have fascinating properties.

Gelatin is a protein formed when collagen (a connective protein in animals) is heated under moist conditions. Gelatin forms cross-linked networks exceedingly well, and therefore is a wonderful gelling agent.

The name has also taken to mean the gel created from gelatin and a water-based liquid like stock or sugary flavored water. You may have guessed by now that gels in general take their name from gelatin.

So the specific answer to the first part of your question is: gels are the general category, and gelatin (in the second sense) is a specific kind of gel.

I have never heard the term gellification. The only verb I am familiar with is to gel. The process is gelatinization or (more familiar to me), just gelling.

In those links in Wikipedia for gel, gelatin, collagen, and areogel you will find out much more.

  • Thank you for your answer.I changed the title of the question to remove the gellification.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 21, 2012 at 22:40
  • I've also seen gelatinisation used to refer to the denaturation of collagen. I've no idea if this is correct usage. Nov 22, 2012 at 9:48
  • 1
    @SAJ14SAJ after searching some more, I've found the propper English name for the proccess I meant is gelation.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 22, 2012 at 10:05
  • Now that you mention it, I think I have heard that.... but I am a computer scientist, not a chemist so I stand corrected :-)
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Nov 22, 2012 at 11:36

Gelatinization means the starch grains swelling, releasing the starch molecules, which then cross link to thicken the liquid. The gel forms, trapping water between chains of starch. It is a heating process. Gelation is a cooling process as the gel sets.

  • Gelatine (and alternatives like agar, carrageenan ... ) is not a starch and still makes gels... May 21, 2017 at 17:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.