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This article is about the gels. For the Portal 2 co-op chapter, see Portal 2 storyline#Mobility Gels.
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The Gels come in four types:
- Repulsion Gel, allowing the Test Subject to jump great heights while jumping on it.
- Propulsion Gel, allowing the Test Subject to attain great speed.
- Conversion Gel, on which the Test Subject can create portals after coating a surface on which it was previously impossible to create a portal.
- Cleansing Gel, with a water-like appearance, used to completely cleanse other Gels during tests, adding difficulty to said test.
Propulsion and Repulsion Gels are a derivative of fiberglass insulation designed to be sweeter and slightly less non-toxic. Cave Johnson makes mention of an additional, unknown element in Repulsion Gel which imparts its special abilities, however, Cave warns test subjects that this element "does not like the human skeleton", the same presumably being true of Propulsion Gel. The gels were originally marketed as a dietary aid, but were quickly pulled from shelves following the disastrous results of their use on humans. The gels were then repurposed as a testing element in Aperture's Test Spheres.
The third gel, Conversion Gel, was developed on impulse by Johnson. He purchased $70 million worth of Moon rocks and turned them into a gel with similar properties to the company's previous two gels. In doing so, he was fatally poisoned by moon dust. The gel, however, proved to be an excellent portal conductor. Cave decided that testing with this gel will somehow give the scientists a cure for Cave's illness.
All three main gels share similar properties. They will stick to any solid surface, imparting their properties to that surface. If one type of gel is poured on top of another, it coats the earlier one, removing the properties of the first in favor of its own. The gels immediately wash off when poured on with the Cleansing Gel, the fourth one, which is similar to water and whose the only purpose is to completely cleanse any gel.
All four gels were left in storage when the old Aperture Laboratories was sealed off. However, the new facility was equipped with pipes to connect to the gel supplies if the old labs were unsealed. This occurs when Chell makes her way out of the facility following Wheatley's betrayal.
Behind the scenes
Repulsion Gel, Propulsion Gel and Cleansing Gel are based on the types of paint featured in Tag: The Power of Paint. The equivalent of Tag’s fourth paint, allowing its user to walk on walls and ceilings and developed for Portal 2 as Adhesion Gel, was playtested but ultimately scrapped, although its coding was still present within the game for a time. It was replaced by Reflection Gel in the Peer Review update, still exhibiting all of its properties.
Repulsion Gel icon in Perpetual Testing Initiative.